"Any Person Can Be Delivered"
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION follows Louis Zamperini after his return from imprisonment in Japan during World War II. PATH TO REDEMPTION picks up where Angelina Jolie’s 2014 movie UNBROKEN ends but showcases Louis’ painful faith journey and eventual victory over alcoholism after the war.
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION begins with a montage showcasing clips and newspaper images of World War II’s conclusion as well as Zamperini’s incredible survival in a raft for 47 days and torture by “The Bird,” a malicious Japanese prison guard. This reminds viewers what happened in the previous UNBROKEN movie while also setting the stage so that PATH TO REDEMPTION can stand on its own. The opening scene shows Louis in Japan in 1952 standing before a group of Japanese war criminals where he deliberately asks, “Where’s Watanabe?” aka The Bird.
The movie then jumps back a couple years to his arrival in the States where the Zamperini family greets a uniformed Louis in his hometown of Torrance, Calif. Louis clearly suffers from PTSD, but he tries to hide it, and he even tells a priest that he blames God for what he endured. The military asks Louis to travel around the country to give speeches to raise money for War Bonds since he’s a war hero, but Louis’s PTSD drives him to terrible alcoholism, a coping mechanism to run from his nightmares of The Bird’s brutal attacks on him.
His drinking gets so bad, he’s ordered to take a three-week vacation in Miami to pull himself together. During this time, he encounters Cynthia Applewhite, with whom he falls in love very quickly. They have a brief courtship, get married and settle in Torrance to be close to Louis’ family.
In the marriage, Louis struggles to find work, since he never completed college before going to war. This drives him deeper into alcohol, all the while trying to hide it from his wife. Cynthia inspires Louis to try running again to see if he can return to run in the Olympics, but this also doesn’t make the intense nightmares go away. Louis has a void in his life that hasn’t been filled by alcohol, by a wife, by running again, or even by a baby daughter. His darkness merely gets worse. Something has to change, or else Louis could lose his marriage. What will Louis do?
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION has a visceral, emotionally stirring ending that will strike the audience’s heartstrings. The production quality is very good, with good costumes and sets. While the writing is very focused, with a clear direction of where the story is going, there are scenes at the beginning with weak dialogue and acting, particularly the courtship scenes between Louis and Cynthia. The acting however improves, and Samuel Hunt delivers a stirring performance as Louis Zamperini.
The message of forgiveness, redemption and radical transformation because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so strong in this true story, Zamperini’s testimony has captured the attention of people worldwide, even people who hold to the Christian faith. PATH TO REDEMPTION portrays Zamperini’s salvation in a powerful fashion that gives all glory to God, yet never comes off as cheesy or overly preachy (even in scenes with preaching). The late Billy Graham, to whom the movie is dedicated, is portrayed by his grandson Will Graham in the climax.
Although UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION ends with redemption, audiences should be mindful that the alcoholism brings another layer of complexity to the story. Louis’ addiction often leads him to disrupt his home life, and on a few occasions, he acts with mild violence. However, his alcoholism is never glorified, and the redemptive nature shows that the Holy Spirit heals all types of pain and addiction.
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION is a fabulous must-see movie for older children and adults, but because of some subject matter, MOVIEGUIDE® advises some caution for older children.
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION follows Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini after his return from imprisonment in Japan during World War II. PATH TO REDEMPTION picks up where Angelina Jolie’s 2014 movie UNBROKEN ends. Zamperini’s assimilation to civilian life is filled with addiction, sadness and failure. All the while, his personal life dangles by a thread as Louis searches for the best avenue to support his wife and growing family. An encounter with the Gospel of Jesus Christ will change his life.
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION has a visceral, emotionally stirring ending that will strike the audiences heartstrings. The production quality is very good, with excellent costumes and sets. The message of forgiveness, redemption and radical transformation because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so strong in this true story, Zamperini’s testimony has captured the attention of people worldwide, even Christians. Although UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION ends with redemption, viewers should be mindful that the alcoholism brings another layer of complexity to the story. UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION is a fabulous must-see movie for teenagers and adults. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger audiences.