Unbroken review

Angelina Jolie's true-story WW2 drama looks sumptuous but fails to fly high

Telling the real story of Italian-American Olympic athlete turned WW2 USAF bombardier Louis Zamperini – who endured and survived more than two years in a Japanese POW camp – Unbroken was at one stage tipped for Oscar recognition. Yet director Angelina Jolie went away empty-handed, and it's easy to see why. While handsomely-staged (especially the aerial combat scenes) and well-acted, it never really grips in the way that it should, focusing too much on hammering home the 'never give up' life lesson instead of nailing the dramas of Zamperini's remarkable tale. You'll end up wondering what a director like Oliver Stone would have done with the source material.

Picture: Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins delivers some stunning images here, and Universal's 1080p Blu-ray encode forwards them on to your cinema screen with panache. This is a picture of immense clarity, with not a bead of sweat, airplane belt buckle or blade of grass out of place. There's a clean look to it which is utterly beguiling. Tonally, it largely opts for a distinctively warmer colour palette than many recent war movies (which makes for a nice change), but the orangey hues don't come at the expense of impressive black levels.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Unbroken is Universal's debut Dolby Atmos Blu-ray release, which in truth means most of us will be sticking with the core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix. Thankfully, this is rather wonderful, as it knows when to go for all-out aggression and when to rely on subtle ambience to complement the visuals. Steering through the surround channels is excellent, bass is weighty and dialogue is well prioritised, although the score is a bit insipid. Given a run-through as 5.1.2 Atmos, meanwhile, the mix offers an extra level of immersion, with that additional height layer really coming into play when the onscreen action takes to the skies.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Work out which icon to hit on Universal's irritating text-less menu and you can unearth a fair selection of bonus goodies, beginning with a handful of deleted scenes, before moving on to some more rewarding documentary material.

The three-part Inside Unbroken feature (runtime approximately 26 minutes) covers plenty of ground concerning the movie's origins and production, with the middle section (The Fight of a Storyteller: Director Angelina Jolie) paying welcome attention to VFX creation. There's also a half-hour Real Louis Zamperini feature, plus some additional featurettes of only fleeting interest.
Extras rating: 2.5/5

We say: The movie plays everything a tad safe, but Atmos-hedz will no doubt buy this disc regardless

Unbroken, Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx