After the Sony hacks, all the world got to hear what producer Scott Rudin thinks of Angelina Jolie, referring to her "rampaging spoiled ego" and saying, "I have zero appetite for the indulgence of spoiled brats and I will tell her this myself if you don't." It's very possible this attitude is shared by others in Hollywood.
According to the Daily Telegraph, "Japanese nationalists have labelled Angelina Jolie a racist and there have been calls for her to be banned from the country for directing the movie Unbroken." Though we don't think Japan is a huge influencer in Hollywood, perhaps SAG and the Golden Globes are erring on the sensitive side.
The first 30 minutes of the Unbroken show Louis Zamperini's troubled childhood as an immigrant and then his discovery of running in track and field events, leading to the Olympics. The last two hours of the film are Zamperini suffering on a life raft, then in the Japanese prisoner of war camps. The head of the camp, Mutsushiro Watanabe (Miyavi Ishihara), decides to make life hell for Zamperini and forces him to suffer a brutal existence. While we understand it's a true story, the violence and the beatings are terribly hard to watch. There is very little joy in this film.
We get that Zamperini was able to endure and survive all the hardships in the camps and we have the utmost respect for him — he is a true American hero. While the movie is about the triumph of the human spirit, the takeaway from the film is a bit muddy. Actor Miyavi Ishihara told Yahoo! Movies, "It's still tough to watch this film. You don't want to see anything of the dark side of the history. But the footage at the very end — Louie running with local children at the Nagano Olympics in his 80s — he came back to the country where he struggled and suffered and [was] traumatized, but everyone was smiling. That's the message that we wanted to deliver to the audience... This film is not about the war, it's all about forgiveness." We're not sure if forgiveness is really what the movie is mostly about.
While Angelina Jolie is a huge American star, she's behind the camera on this one. We totally respect her choice to cast relatively unknown actors in the movie, but she may have been better off casting Americans. Miyavi Ishihara is a rock star in Japan, but mostly unknown to American audiences. Jack O'Connell, who plays Zamperini, is a British actor best known for his role as James Cook in the TV show Skins. Both lead actors give dynamite performances, so it's a bit odd they didn't get recognized with award nominations, but SAG in particular may be looking to recognize American actors.
Unbroken opens on Christmas day.
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