I was stoked to be able to pick a movie from FishFlix.com to review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. There were several choices. I encourage you to take a moment and go over to their site and explore their categories of movies. Pretty impressive. The crew had the following choices:
I chose the DVD movie Unbroken. I was drawn to the film on several levels. This review was during track season – and for those of you who follow, you might remember that Jon was born on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, so we have an interest in all things WW2.
This movie seems unreal. The title says it is an unbelievable story.
The second part of the set is a DVD that focuses on the faith angle of the story. In the intro it says that he lived four lives. The one when he was a boy, who was smoking by the age of 5, drinking, and running around. Running so much, that he caught the attention of a track coach who turned his interest around. He broke quite a few running records, and sent himself to the Olympics. Although he placed 8th, he ran the quickest last lap, gaining the interest of an up an coming German leader – Adolf Hitler who asked to meet him.
You’d think that would be enough for one life.
But he went on to be a bombardier. He traveled thousands of miles to target facilities. On one particular mission his plane was shot down. He remembers passing out, under the water, then coming to close to the surface. He found his two friends that survived and we learn how they survived 47 days at sea.
They finally spot land, but are found by the Japanese first. They have found an island that holds war prisoners in the worst conditions. He is moved from this facility to a Prisoner of War camp – with the Japanese. His story goes into detail with his relationships with the guards, what he was asked to do, what he refused to do – with his 65 pound body.
His family was told he died in the plane crash. The Japanese forced him to read a radio announcement and they discovered he was alive!
The movie pretty much ends with his coming home. It really leaves off what he calls his fourth life.
I’m telling you the details of the film, but trust me. It is a massive detailed movie. We’ve watched it once, and watched the additional 90 minutes twice. Hearing Louie Zamperini tell his story in his own words is even more incredible that seeing it played out in film.
At a turning point in his life, he goes to see a young man, new in his career in the ministry, at a little chat in Los Angeles. The year was 1949 and that young man’s name was Billy Graham. It was his first three week campaign that turned into an 8 week crusade that has moved through his lifetime, and into the next generations. He had one message – Trust Jesus and turn your lives over to him.
Louie Zamperini says, “He talked about one person only, for 30 minutes – the person of Jesus Christ – I believed it – but not in my heart, I knew if I did, my life would be different, if I possessed the Savior.” He came back the next day and accepted Christ as his Savior.
Louie Zamperini really stressed the difference that the people of that time had between the head knowledge and the heart trusting. Everyone believes in God. Even Jesus. But he knew the difference of turning your life over.
To hear this man quote verses fluently, it makes your heart go pitter patter. Quickening the Spirit in my own chest. You think life is hard? You think you have things in your past that you’d rather erase? Really? How about hearing this guy say –
“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. I am the way I am the truth and I am the life, – Christ is the way to God. “
“People are always seeking truth. Truth is Christ. Eternal life starts now by faith in Jesus Christ. That is the the strength we live by and death no longer has a stain – not to the Christian.”
He remembers a time in the life raft – he says all you do in prison and when lost at sea is pray. They all prayed. But when you are rescued you forget all of that. He says he prayed – “Get me home alive and I will seek you, I will serve you. But I never remembered it til I heard Billy Graham speak those scriptures.”
He says he went home and found the Army Bible that was shipped home in his foot locker when they thought he died. The guys in the army didn’t understand the Bible, so they didn’t read it. But the moment he put his trust in Jesus, all he wanted to do was read the scriptures. He understood it. All of it. All of the stories and theology were in place for him. He gives it to the power of the Holy Spirit and says it is the Proof that his heart was changed, that he could understand scripture. He gives several examples that cemented his knowing that the heart change was real and permanent.
He was able to go back and present the gospel to the war criminals. Many of them came to the Lord. He calls it a phenomenal miracle. 2011, June.
Again, I’m seriously not giving spoilers. I’m just on fire from how amazing his testimony is. If you do not order this film, please know that whatever you are walking through today, whether you believe in your head or in your heart about Jesus – that he does have a plan for your life. Imagine being down the line at 92 years old with the heart of a Hero. What will you be able to testify that God has helped you through?
With these four lives lived in one – you might be like us and be in awe of his Olympic Journey, or amazed that he could survive in the Ocean, or that he could come back from the prison camps. He says,
“The heart of my story, is that I have Christ as my savior. That’s the whole story. “
And he asks you a question – I ask the question of myself – He calls it the
“Greatest Question: What have you done with Jesus Christ?”
Words I picked up from those who knew him – Grit and Tenacity, Resilience and Faith through his whole life. May someone say that about me, and my path in 60 years.
“Mom, when we get done watching this, can we watch the movie again?” – Jonee
You are going to want to watch this incredible Journey, too.
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