Sunday, December 4, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found


VideoFound: Dog, chocolate color, on old Pittman Rd., be prepared to prove it's your dog, looking for owner. Call or text Tammy at 830-391-6662.
*Includes FREE photo online! mywcn.com/lostandfound
Lost: Male Great Pyrenees, all white, double dew claws on back legs, sweet, shy, not aggressive, Nov. 10, C.R. 404/405, neighbors heard 2 shots, any information appreciated. 830-393-0801.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

F&W Electrical is now hiring laborers, construction experience and driver license a plus. Apply at 6880 U.S. Hwy. 181 N., Floresville, Monday-Friday, 8-5. 830-393-0083. EOE.
Seeking individual to work in a local child-care center, paid holidays, etc., must be high school grad or GED. Apply in person at Cubs Country Childcare, 212 FM 1346 in La Vernia.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

South Texas Living


A triumph of survival and forgiveness




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

At the movies
December 31, 2014 | 2,942 views | Post a comment

“Unbroken” is a film of tremendous beauty and rare elegance. It’s based on the life of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an Olympian who became a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. His bomber was shot down over the Pacific. After being lost at sea for more than a month, he became a Japanese prisoner of war, subject to a warden who was later sought for war crimes due to his brutality.

None of these details are spoilers -- they’re all part of an historical account. I’m not sure one could spoil director Angelina Jolie’s movie either. Its profound effect isn’t simply due to the facts of its story. In fact, Jolie overcomes a surprisingly unremarkable script written in part by the Coen brothers, auteurs from whom I usually expect more.

What Jolie finds as a director are the details that shape a moment, that take a cinematic scene and turn it into a peek inside someone else’s memory. We see the sweeping wind across Louis’s hometown, seeming to echo his sense of being a loner. We hear the rustle of the palms in the tropical Pacific wind as Louis runs a time trial before a mission. We watch the glitter of the stars as Louis tries to sleep after a month in a lifeboat at sea.

Few of us lead epic lives, but we all have epic memories, the kind where we can still see and smell and even taste the moment. Jolie uses the astounding cinematography of Roger Deakins to evoke a sense of texture that is both artful and personal. Much in “Unbroken” is left unsaid -- themes aren’t debated in dialogue so much as hinted at in passing details. You get a sense how influenced Jolie’s been by directors she’s worked with as an actress, particularly the wry, spare, and evocative style of Clint Eastwood, where the most important words are always left unspoken.

Many critics have taken “Unbroken” to task for not being grand enough or for focusing on the brutal, wartime aspects of Louis’s life. Jolie’s aim here is to communicate a message of forgiveness and, rather than show a pained veteran dramatically learning how to offer it to those who wronged him, she focuses on Louis’s time as a prisoner-of-war. She tallies the moments that are unforgivable in order to build up how insurmountable a task forgiveness can be. In showing us Louis’s will to overcome life-or-death moments, she displays how understanding and forgiving your enemies is a similarly noble act of inner strength.

That can’t be communicated by dialogue or by beautiful cinematography. It’s communicated through empathy, and in Jolie’s hands that means finding the precise visuals and storytelling moments that create a memory: the shadows that fill the room while a father disciplines a child and the mother holds another. The look that mother gives when she knows her son is watching her cook from scratch, the simple, private pride of a humble moment. A photograph of Louis’s captor as a young boy, with his own strict father and impossible expectations. The glitter of bombers and fighters on the Tokyo horizon, signaling a war that’s drawing to a close. Jolie is not a perfect filmmaker here. She’s something more important -- a storyteller who communicates with a powerful empathy that I believe audiences are understanding more than critics. The packed house I watched with gave the film a standing ovation. How rare is that?

If the goal of a movie is to inspire, “Unbroken” does that in spades. I walked out feeling uplifted and more determined in my own goals than when I’d went in. If the goal of the movie is to make me contemplate the brutality of war and torture, and to better ennoble and idealize the values in forgiveness, it does that, too.

“Unbroken” doesn’t set out to overwhelm you the way so many big-budget war films do. It doesn’t seek to redefine what makes a film either, instead choosing a very classical approach to storytelling. The effect it has is quiet, philosophical, and spiritual, but it’s not without its compelling moments and tense sequences. This is an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser. There are cliché moments, but you’re allowed to be cliché when you do it this well. O’Connell’s is a fully inhabited performance. You don’t get the sense that he’s acting, so much as living and breathing the hours of another man.

Three-and-a-half out of four stars. “Unbroken” is rated PG-13 for some POW camp scenes of brutality.

Gabe Valdez grew up in Chicago, went to college in Massachusetts, is a former news reporter in Floresville, Texas, and worked in politics in Oregon. He writes and directs films when he can find the time. Reviews, views, photos and more can be found at http://basilmarinerchase.wordpress.com. Email him at vlasicary@hotmail.com.
 

Your Opinions and Comments


Be the first to comment on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

South Texas Living Archives


Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Ballet school plans Dec. 3 performance (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Celebrate the holidays at Christmas Along the Corridor (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Church plans Children’s Christmas Party (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Coca-Cola tray (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Counting our blessings for the wonderful care from the VA, part II (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Elmendorf to offer parade, festivities (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Experience O’ Bethlehem at St. Ann’s (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Happy 10th birthday, Mu Chi! (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. LV Lions Craft Show (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Make memories at River Bend Rejoice (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Recalling the community that once was Camp Ranch (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Sheriff Santa Soup Kitchen is Dec. 4 (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Shop LVUMC annual Christmas Bazaar (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale FFA honors former students with tree dedication (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale Main Street Christmas Dec. 3 (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale Masonic Lodge plans Pancake Breakfast (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. There’s no excuse for going hungry (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Yulefest in Seguin Dec. 4 (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. ‘Enjoy Hometown Christmas Cheer’ in Floresville Dec. 9 (November 30, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Alone for the Holidays (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Apply for upcoming Master Gardener class (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Arrange a phone call from Santa (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Bishop honored for promotion of Polish heritage (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Christmas on the Svoboda farm in the 1920s (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous offers free meetings (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get to dancing at the Floresville Opry Christmas Spectacular! (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Heartwarming holiday recipes from Wilson County cooks (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Holiday Covered Dish Dinner (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letters from Wilson County, Part II (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Library’s grand reopening set (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Lutheran church plans Christmas Market (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Mesquite Traildrivers Craft Show, Cook-off is Nov. 26 (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Photo exhibit shows Opry in its prime (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Retired school group to meet in La Vernia (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. St. Ann’s invites women to day retreat (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Teen MOPS plans meetings (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Trinket box (November 23, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Army drafts Elvis, fans get ‘All Shook Up’ (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Chalkware dog (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Church Thanksgiving Service (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Community Thanksgiving Service is Nov. 20 (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Counting our blessings for the wonderful care from the VA, part I (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Donate to ‘Fill The Bed’ through Nov. 17 (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Don’t spend it all in one place (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Enjoy a free Thanksgiving Feast Nov. 24 (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get your turkey dinner in St. Hedwig (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hear ‘Sounds of the Season’ in Boerne cave (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Jubilarians honored for milestone anniversaries (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Lone Star Greys to honor members (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo releases 2017 entertainment (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Save the date for Roger Winkler Music Fest! (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Tickets on sale for SS Museum Banquet (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. TOPS to meet Nov. 17 (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Trot with Road Runners group (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Young ‘phenom,’ Freddy Amaro, is taking his best shot (November 16, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Barbecue benefit to honor veteran (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Battling heart disease in women (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Enjoy Farm Day at Mission San Juan (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FHS class of ’53 reunites (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Flower garden ashtray (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. La Vernia drum major keeps the beat (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Medicare Open Enrollment (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pardon our dust! New mywcn.com under construction (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Participate in an Immersive Music Experience (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pecan Jubilee packed with free fun (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Post 38 plans Spaghetti Dinner (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Poth pitcher pushes to new limits (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Register to Tee Off For Teachers (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Save your spot for Acoustic Music Camp (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. See Shakespeare in the Park (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Voices and laughter ring down through the years (November 9, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Alamodome to house Music for All’s Bands competition (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Art deco (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Black Hill turkey dinner is Nov. 6 (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Chili & Bean Cook-off is Nov. 12 (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Craft show, cook-off seeks vendors, grillers (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. En pointe – turning dreams into dancing (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get crafty at LVISD Community Education classes (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Helping ancestors rest in peace (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Learn how to propagate native plants (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Oak Hills Church plans Fall Sale (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Recalling the times and people with polio (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Register for Pecan Jubilee bake-off (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Sculpture exhibit entries (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. See the Alamo Metro Chorus in ‘Music Con’ (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Seniors as roommates (November 2, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Walk to help end hunger Nov. 6 (November 2, 2016)