Unbroken: Path to Redemption – Christian Movie Review

The Real Story of Unbroken

Louis Zamperini was a man broken by war and captivity.  He was an angry, unemployed, anxiety-ridden alcoholic trying to drink his Post Traumatic Stress-induced nightmares away…until he met Jesus.  His transformation from a completely shattered man into a victorious servant of Jesus is the source of the somewhat ironic title – Unbroken.  He had to be completely broken by life before he could be remade again by God.  It is a great story!  From beginning to end, my wife and I both loved Unbroken:  Path to Redemption.  It is not only a wonderful movie of one man’s life, but it resembles a parable about the power of the love of Jesus.   It is a great movie.  Go and see it!

If you have a difficult person in your life that you need help loving, see this movie.

If you are struggling with what seems like a hopeless relationship, see this movie.

If you are trapped in addiction and feel like you can’t escape, see this movie.

If your spouse is drowning in addiction, see this movie.

If you are dealing with anxiety, PTSD, depression or generally struggling and feel there is no way of getting out of it, see this movie.

It will give you hope because it shows Jesus working.  He is the Way!  In a lot of ways, the story is a lot like mine and probably yours.  (minus the sharks and Japanese prison camps.  For more please read 5 Powerful Spouse Evangelism Tools and Christians and Alcohol.

Unbroken:  Path to Redemption – A Christian In Depth Review

Unbroken: Path to Redemption is the story that Angelina Jolie should have told in the first Unbroken movie in 2014.  It is a beautiful, moving and intelligent film about the parts of the life of Louis Zamperini she left out.   In a year that featured a lineup of fantastic Christian films, Paul, Apostle of Christ, I Can Only Imagine and The Case for Christ, this may be my favorite.  It is an instant classic.  For more good movies see 5 Must-See Christian Movie.

Unbroken:  Path to Redemption may sound familiar to you as it involves a portion of the story of the novel of the same name, Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand and the 2014 movie.  Each tells the story of Louis Zamperini, nicknamed the Torrance Tornado, a world-famous sprinter during the years surrounding World War 2.  After competing at the Olympics in Berlin immediately before the war,  Zamperini was a crewman on a B-24 that crashed in the Pacific Ocean during a rescue mission.  He subsequently survived on an open raft in the Pacific Ocean for 47 days, followed by years of terrible torture at the hands of the Japanese in a prison camp.  Hildebrand does a wonderful job chronicling these years in her best selling book which I enjoyed as well.  Buy that here: Unbroken.

Zamperini is singled out for extra abuse and humiliation by the most sadistic of the Japanese guards who the prisoners called “the Bird”.  His fame as an Olympian seemed to motivate the Bird to do everything possible to torture Zamperini in cruel and unusual ways.  Though they survived, Zamperini and the rest of the soldiers and sailors who endured Japanese captivity did so in terrible condition.  In the pictures taken immediately after their release, they appear to be haunted skeletons barely alive.  The story of how they survived is an interesting story and the one that Ms. Jolie chose to tell in the prior movie…but it completely missed the core of Zamperini’s life.  Zamperini was an on fire Christian who testified about his Savior every chance he could.  His life was about Jesus not the Japanese.  Being physically released from a prison camp was nothing compared with being set free from the law of sin and death.

Unbroken Path To Redemption Pastor Unlikely

The Story

The movie picks up where Jolie left off and right where the best work is done.  It tells what happens with the rest of Zamperini’s life.  The movie follows Zamperini as he first comes home and deals with a new found celebrity.  There is a wonderful scene where he is walking through his hometown recognized and greeted by a proud and hopeful population. This fame is used by the army as he sets out on a War Bonds tour, but the long hours isolation and PTSD takes its toll on him.  We see the first signs of major problems in his life as he travels and drinks his way through the country.  Though Zamperini is physically sound when he arrives home, when he faces the demons caused by his captivity, things start to fall apart.

His decline is held back for a time by the adventure of meeting and marrying a beautiful young wife, Cynthia.  He also sets out to regain the world-class track form that made him famous.  Forget the nightmares, the abuse, and everything from the war, he would be the Torrance Tornado again and this would make life better.  When this plan falls apart, the problems Zamperini have held at bay through sheer determination come screaming back in and take up residence.  The first scene of hopeful triumphant hero is contrasted by a similar scene where haunted alcoholic Zamperini stumbles blindly down the same hostile street.  It is a shocking turn of events.  The actors playing Zamperini and his wife, Cynthia, do a wonderful job in their roles.  They and the storyline make you like them.  Their relationship is sweet and loving.  When it begins to crumble, you are emotionally invested with them and feel pain with them.

Unbroken Path To Redemption Pastor Unlikely


Zamperini becomes alcoholic, obsessive and anxiety-ridden.  He is a shell of his former self.  Rather than present a stylized and painfully long version of the abuses Zamperini suffered, Path to Redemption shows Louie’s history through dramatic flashes that are more powerful for their brevity.  When Zamperini is dreaming or hallucinating about the Bird, we see the same things he does.  When he flashes back to the sharks circling his small raft, we are taken there in a moment as well.  In one of the most powerful scenes in the film, when he flashes back to near drowning in his crashed bomber, we are there with him.  It is jarring to watch, while also making Zamperini very sympathetic, even while he is destroying his family.  Finally, Cynthia is at the end of her rope and determined not to take any more when she is invited to a Billy Graham Crusade by a neighbor…and Jesus changes everything.

Unbroken Path To Redemption Pastor Unlikely


I will not give away the rest of the story, but it is here that the movie shines from a Christian perspective.   Jesus’ love is shown transforming one person. The people near them are then changed by His love and seeing the transformation.  This continues outwardly and restores people, relationships and their families.  This is shown in the lives of the Zamperini’s in clear, authentic and convincing ways.  In some ways, I was watching my family’s story and many others who have been saved from the demons who were haunting them.  Jesus saves and redeems.  It is the heart of the Christian faith, but it is rarely expressed in the film so well.  It is a true story that so clearly depicts the powerful work of Jesus happening every day around the world.  Zamperini is born again and nothing is ever the same.  Read What Does it Mean to be Born Again and 11 Life Changing Bible Verses About Being Born Again to learn more.

If you have a difficult person in your life and you need hope to keep on going, see this movie.

If you are struggling with what seems like a hopeless relationship, see this movie.

If you are feeling trapped in addiction and feel like you can’t escape, see this Unbroken.

If you are dealing with anxiety, PTSD, depression or generally struggling and feel there is no way of get out of it, see this movie.

If you are struggling with anger, bitterness and unforgiveness, this is a must see movie.

It will give you hope because it shows Jesus working.  He is the Way!

My wife and I loved Unbroken:  Path to Redemption and I think you will as well.  It is a fantastic story of true redemption and love that can change anyone.  It is an amazing story of Jesus working that is well told, well acted and quite the tear-jerker.  See this wonderful movie if you want to be built up in your faith.

Unbroken Review Pastor Unlikely



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