I recently had a very special experience at the movies with my own private screening of Unbroken: Path to Redemption. When I walked into the theater and realized I’d be the only one at the 11:15 am showing, I nestled in full of anticipation and excitement for the emotional journey ahead. It was a blessed day indeed. I even used my crown club points to get a free popcorn and diet coke.
If you didn’t see Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” you’ll still be able to follow this movie. Path to Redemption is the rest of the story from Laura Hillenbrand’s best selling book, “Unbroken” about Olympian and WWII hero, Louis Zampirini. The movie follows the all too familiar struggle of trying to find normalcy after returning home from war. I’ve seen enough stories and heard enough personal testimonies to know that men and women who fight wars for our freedom return home to fight the good fight of faith. War challenges your perception of who God is and if he really exists. This was evident in Unbroken: Path to Redemption and done well.
Not surprising, the Rotten Tomatoes critics score it a respectable 5.4 on a ten point scale landing at only 26% of critics that liked it. However, 87% of the audience liked it. This is a great illustration of the movie’s performance. As a Christian, I loved the the story. When is redemption ever a bad story? As a screenwriter and movie goer, I’d say it was a solid 6 on a ten point scale. Here’s why…
Preaching to the Choir
Like many faith-based movies that address salvation, PTR is preaching to the choir. Anyone who chose to see Redemption was likely already saved. The movie had specific Christian appeal and since I’m Christian it worked for me. But I don’t see it as a terribly effective evangelism tool. If the goal was to make a movie for Christians to watch without feeling soiled – nailed it. If the movie is supposed to make us recognize the power of God and salvation – not so much.
I found myself fidgeting in my seat in the middle of the movie. At one point I realized that I was on Instagram and the movie had lost my attention. There is only so much that we need to see of Louis as an angry drunk and after a few scenes, we get it. The beginning of the movie was engaging and the end was delightful but the middle seemed to drag on.
PTR showed us an angry drunk and frustrated wife who never said anything more harsh than “Stop with the sweet Cindy act.” Even in sin, everyone in the movie had reasonably acceptable behavior for the circumstance. It felt a little too “clean” for the situation. A “Damn it!” or two would have lended a little more authenticity to Louis’ plight.
All in all I enjoyed the movie. For those of us on #teamJESUS, the ending is a pure delight. It’s redemption. What’s not to like?