Angelina Jolie strikes a pose behind the camera for a vanity production that delights in torturing audiences as much as it does the film’s characters. On land, sea, and air, the charmed celeb stops at nothing when it comes to cataloging human suffering in this fact-based, CGI-encumbered account of Italian-American soldier Louis Zamperini (redheaded Irishman Jack O'Connell, ethnically altered by a tin of Kiwi black), who was held captive during WWII in a Japanese POW camp. Ethan and Joel Coen receive top writing credit for their work as script doctors. Pen the word “gift” in the memo line of their paychecks for this comic-book approach to heroics. And break the fingers of the imbecile who thought it wise, under the conditions presented, to add a flagrant nod to Jaws. Like the movie star who signed it, the film is aloof, emotionless, and (thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins) beautiful to look at. Scott Rudin is right! (2014) — Scott Marks
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