The Great Performances That Distinguish 'Unbroken'



Garrett Hedlund, Jack O'Connell, director Angelina Jolie, Miyavi and Finn Wittrock appear at an "Unbroken" event in New York City.

One of the most remarkable things about Unbroken is Jack O'Connell's riveting performance as Louis Zamperini. Born in the UK to an Irish father and an English mother, the 24-year-old actor portrays the WWII hero's determination under astonishing pressure without ever screwing up his American accent.

There are some equally impressive performances by the actors who play his fellow soldiers, particularly Finn Wittrock (as Mac McNamara) and Domhnall Gleeson (as Phil Phillips) on the life raft and Garrett Hedlund (as John Fitzgerald) as the leader of the prisoners in the POW camp.

Angelina Jolie's greatest strength as a director is the performances she captured from these actors and the vision she showed in casting O'Connell is particularly apparent when you watch the interview below:


O'Connell understands the basic mission here: Louis Zamperini's story is one of thousands from WWII:

Angelina has made a very relevant, important point that Louis's generation, sadly enough, are nearly all gone.  We owe it to ourselves, we owe to them first and foremost, to keep passing their accounts down.  They're from such a sacrificial generation.  Everything that we get to experience today, I believe, came at a cost. It's now our responsibility to ensure that generations beneath ours are also made aware.

Louis is just the one account.  An incredible account, but you know there were many heroes in this generation.  As we say, we could make a whole movie on Fitzgerald, for instance.

Domhnall Gleeson wasn't unable to attend the promotional events for the film, but Finn Wittrock and Garrett Hedlund (who appear in different sections of the film) gave us the interview below:


Finn Wittrock talked about his own sense of responsibility to the real-life men they play in the movie.

It was great to eat when it was over. My eyes were opened when I got to meet Louis. You know you're playing a real person, you know that this guy really lived, but when you meet someone who watched your character literally starve to death in front of them, you actually wrap your mind around the fact that you’re playing someone that he saw die in your arms.

There's a heightened sense of reality and responsibility. We don’t know much about who Mac was, but somehow I feel like I have to do his spirit justice. He could be any of our grandfathers, you know?

We were in service of a story that’s bigger than any of us. That was a thing to keep reminding yourself of when you were in the trenches after you had four blueberries for breakfast.

Unbroken opens everywhere Christmas day.


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