I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a movie critic, so I can only render a layman’s reaction to the film. In general I liked the movie. As is typically the case the book was better. I felt I got a much better feel for Zamperini’s personality from the book, which is to be expected since it contains considerably more detail than is possible for a film. The film can be hard to watch due to the unrelenting hardship and brutality that Zamperini endured, though for the most part I thought this was handled well in the movie. Over all the film told a powerful tale.
Sadly, the movie completely left out that part of the story and in so doing was seriously lessened. While the story of courage and endurance is impressive, the true story of Louis Zamperini, the one that defined the rest of his life, was a story of redemption, forgiveness and hope. It was the powerful and poignant story that human souls are desperate to receive. Why did the film makers leave it out? Perhaps they feared some people wouldn’t want to hear the true story and that might limit their audience. Or perhaps they simply were personally prejudiced against the message of grace. I do not know their motives. I do know that whatever the case, they ended up significantly lessening the impact of a truly dramatic saga, and in my mind that is sad.