Unbroken: Path to Redemption Review - A True Story that Resonates with a Strong Message

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Unbroken: Path to Redemption, from Universal 1440 Entertainment and Pure Flix Entertainment, continues the story of Louis Zamperini, former prisoner of war plagued by PTSD, he hears the message of Christ and is instantaneously transformed.

Directed by Harold Cronk, Unbroken: Path to Redemption stars Samuel Hunt, Merritt Patterson, Will Graham, Bobby Campo, Gianna Simone, Maddlena Ischiale, David Sakurai, Bob Gunton, David DeLuise, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Ali Eagle, Vincenzo Amato, Ian Scott Rudolph and was written by Richard Friedenberg and Ken Hixon based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption begins with Louis Zamerini, played by Samuel Hunt in Tokyo returning to the prison where he was held a prisoner of war and tortured. To the shock of the guards who were now captives of the United States government he reached out and forgave each of those who brutally, and mercilessly with no thought of humanity tortured him. The most vicious, Wantanabe "The Bird," played by David Sakurai, was absent having escaped.


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The film loops to see how we get to this place where forgiveness was extended to those who did not deserve it, who didn't ask nor expect it, and the film picks up at the early days of Zamperini's release.

We meet his traditional Italian family, warm, loving, affectionate His mother, Louise played by Maddalena Ischiale, sisters Virginia, played by Ali Eagle, Sylvia played by Gianna Simone, brother Pete, played by Bobby Campo, and father Anthony played by Vincenzo Amato.

All are waiting for Louis, who had been declared dead in the war as he returns to Torrance, California, his hometown, with strangers acknowledging him, shaking his hand, saluting. He was a local hero who made his community proud again.

Zamperini was also known as the Torrance Tornado. His ability to run the mile in 4:21, in high school, earned him a scholarship. Soon after he broke his own record with a mile time of 4:08.3 and a birth in the Olympics. He was accustomed to building mental and physical endurance continuing despite circumstances only this one seemed to take him down.

Soon with Louis the war hero back, he was asked to travel the country to keep the public interest high and donations flowing. The stress of life and the plaguing post traumatic stress nightmares were gnawing at his psyche. Turning to booze to sedate him, soon he was a raging drunk.

The Major, played by Bob Gunton, explained either sober up or we'll have to send you home. So they sent him to Miami to dry out.

As destiny would have it in Miami, while soaking up the sun, sea and running with an old army buddy he just happened to meet up with, he sees a beautiful, mesmerizing woman, played by Merritt Patterson. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry and start life in Torrance.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption is a solid film and the story is portrayed well. The PTSD, which was barely mentioned by military personal and physicians during those times let alone understood, was palpable.

The true story details a life clearly meant for something, more, something bigger. Cheating death once is often considered luck, chance, God, a higher power, Zamperini could list the times he should have been dead and was declared dead, a causality of the World War II. Every possible effort to silence the life changing message that he had yet to hear was made.

As the true story goes, and is portrayed he shot down over shark infested waters, drifting for 47 days and landing on the Japanese shore, where he was taken to prison and tortured for two years. The hand of God, or a higher power, is obvious even before the man understood that his life was meant for a divine purpose.

The film shows the depth of despair he faces; no job, a wife, a baby, the debilitating PTSD, which are vividly and authentically portrayed, the post war economy has left a glut of men ready to work with no jobs.

Soon the bottle and battle was his only friend with both winning leaving him, the one who overcame, beaten and broken.

It was at this time, a young Billy Graham, played by Will Graham, was traveling through Los Angeles and holding tent revivals. Cynthia, Louis wife, who had never given up on her faith and loved her husband, asked him to attend. 

As it is portrayed in the film, pride kept him from the first night and it isn't clear which night of the revival he attended. Nearly everyone knew of him, he was an internationally known runner, an Olympic and War hero, as manly as they come.

Louis decides to go with his wife and as he hears the message the Holy Spirit begans to break down the walls, it became a spiritual fight, almost a fight or flight battle with flight nearly winning and just as he got to the exit, Billy Graham, simply said, "Don't leave."

Zamperini returns and gives his life to Christ, accepting the message of Christ as his personal savoir and through His death on the cross the forgiveness of sin. The film plays out the moment of transformation without the usual public confession and big religious moment.


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The film does portray a clear and instantaneous release from the bottle, and as the story goes Zamperini, who only days before was a black out drunk, never took another drink, ever. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit took the dependency on booze away. It was gone.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption is the next chapter in the life of Louis Zamperini, a life nearly cut short but spared, not with trials and tribulations, to bring the transforming power of Christ and the Holy Spirit to generations of youth and now wider to others.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption is a family friendly film which doesn't cut the darkness of the demons that held Louis Zamperini and nor hides the message of Christ that spared him. 

Unbroken: Path to Redemption opens Friday September 14, 2018. Its a very good, well made, real life story with heartbreak and hope. 

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