“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is a continuation of the story of Olympian and World War II hero, Louis Zamperini, which is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The first part of Hillenbrand’s book was featured back in 2014 with the Angelina Jolie directed “Unbroken,” which was nominated for three Academy Awards. Although initially well-received by fans and box office sales, some viewers were disappointed that the 2014 film seemed to end without including what the Zamperini family would consider the most important part: faith.
This new film, slated to be released on September 14, seeks to rectify that criticism by presenting the rest of the story.
A story of war
“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” picks up right where “Unbroken” left off. Louis has returned home from the war, but he’s not truly back from war. It does not take long for Louis and his new bride, Cynthia, to realize that “maybe the war’s not over just because they say it is.” The physical battle in Japan may have ended, but the metaphysical battle is far from over. Louis will struggle with the turmoil of post-traumatic stress throughout the film. Wrestling with the mental, emotional and spiritual warfare inside, Louis turns to alcohol and anger. Though Louis is free from the concentration camp, he is still a prisoner of war.
As Louis rages against his internal bondage, his marriage and family start to crumble. For Cynthia, for better or for worse seems to be realized as a union with sorrow. In marriage, the person you love the most is also the person who will hurt you the most.
A story of victory
The beautiful irony of the movie’s title is that a path to redemption is a path of brokenness. We must be broken before God if we are to find true healing. This is the lesson Louis must learn. Louis finds that unforgiveness is poison to his soul. To find healing from his trauma and freedom from his prison, he must surrender to Christ.
Voices from our past are constantly shouting at us to look at them. Pain and regret and bitterness all tempt us to come back time and time again to coddle their sicknesses in our hearts. But we must look away. We must listen to only one voice — the voice of Truth. And we look to Jesus, turning our eyes to Him. We follow His path for it is the road to redemption. “Unbroken” is the story of a man who would not be broken before men but is finally broken before God. Louis would not be defeated on the track field, and he would not give in to his captors despite torture, isolation and starvation. But despite his determination and resilience, Louis could not save his own soul. It is the powerful, peaceful voice of God that brings his knees to the ground. The kind, gentle mercy that breaks the heart of stone.
The film asks several provocative questions. What do you say to those who have wronged you? Can you have closure even if you are never able to confront that person who mistreated you? What is peace and wholeness? What truly makes us whole? Visit your local cinema this September 14 to start down your own path with these questions.
“But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” (Philippians 3:13).
Finley is a doctoral student researching Organizational Leadership. He can be reached at: [email protected]