Jack O'Connell in Unbroken.

Angelina Jolie directs the harrowing story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), a real life Olympic-runner and American soldier who was shot down over the Pacific during World War II. Zamperini wound up at sea on a lifeboat for a grueling stretch until he and his co-survivor, Phil (Domhnall Gleeson), were picked up by Japanese soldiers and put into a prison camp. That’s where the real hell began.

Unbroken shows Zamperini going through a nasty amount of torture at the hands of the camp commander, Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara). In fact, some of the stuff Zamperini endured—like an entire prison camp population punching him in the face, one person at a time—seems like it must be embellished. (Nobody could survive all those haymakers in a row … could they?) Still, the story is uplifting, and Jolie makes a good-looking movie.

The script was co-written by the Coen brothers along with Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson, based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand.

Zamperini died in July 2014. The film acts as a nice tribute to his courage.

Unbroken is playing at the UltraStar Mary Pickford Stadium 14 (36850 Pickfair St., Cathedral City; 760-328-7100), the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 844-462-7342) and the Century Theatres at The River (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-836-1940).