It may be a true story, but I’m not sure who is going to enjoy a film about surviving a Japanese prison camp, and the Christmas Day release seems particularly ill-timed. Back in the 1950s, films like this turned on up the exploitation circuit, and were sometimes banned for stoking racial hatred. Not surprisingly, some Japanese have objected to the film, but other Asians have praised it. The film is clearly presented as a Serious Movie Worthy of Oscar Consideration, but despite the source material and the contributors, much of the presentation is pedestrian – competent, to be sure, but rarely oustanding. Part of the problem may be that the director, Angelina Jolie, was a neighbour and friend of the late Louis Zamperini, and presents him as a perfect hero. The lack of moral complexity in the character may be accurate, but truth does not always make a good story.

Everyone agrees there is violence in the film, but ratings vary. Eastern and central Canada require adult accompaniment for younger teens, while western Canada believes a PG rating is sufficient, and no one specifically advises against children attending. The UK sets a higher rating, not admitting anyone under fifteen. More detailed ratings, available by clicking on the name of the jurisdiction, have additional warnings, including tobacco use. India takes tobacco use in films very seriously: They’ve added anti-smoking disclaimers at the start and middle of the film, and show an anti-smoking message whenever there is smoking onscreen.

By trc

Freelance writer, freelance editor, web consultant, and film studies scholar.

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