I have seen people talking on facebook and on the news about the movie directed by Angelina Jolie, Unbroken. It seemed that people liked it and so my curiosity was piqued. I talked my dear husband into starting out the new year by joining me at the movie theater to find out what this movie was all about. It starts out very positive with a kid, Louie, that is headed for trouble getting turned around by running. Then WW II happens. If it wasn’t bad enough that the platoon’s war plane crashes into the ocean and the survivors float in a life raft for, I think it was, 48 days, the 2 remaining survivors are picked up by the Japanese. I have always said “real life is sometimes stranger than fiction” as this is a true story. It was hard to believe that this man’s desperate situation just got worse after being rescued. People have said the movie made them weep but all I could muster was outright anger and outrage at the ill treatment given to Louie by the Japanese leader of the prisoner of war camp. I wanted to take his stick and beat him the same way he beat Louie- to give him some of his own medicine. For whatever reason, Louie was singled out by “the bird” for treatment more horrible than most of the others. What is it in the human soul that can make a man so evil? I think the Bible calls it sin. I do not, in any way, believe the philosophy that is spouted that all people are born essentially good. Just look around at our world and stories like this that support man’s essential depravity without God.
It reminded me so much of my reaction to the way my father treated my younger brother in my story and maybe that is why my anger emotion was triggered. But Christians are not supposed to pay back evil for evil so how does one reconcile this kind of behavior when one sees it? Are we just supposed to stand by and do nothing? Are we called only to watch and say, “God will make all wrongs right in the end?” I realize this movie was portraying something that happened during war time but for the man it happened to, it was no less traumatic. The ending script tells us that he eventually forgave his enemies and followed through with his commitment to follow God that he made while he was floating on the sea, but not without years of suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. Forgiveness does not erase the horrible effects on the person from such an experience. An experience of any kind such as this changes who the person is and its effects follow for years into the future. I found it interesting that Louie went back and met with all of his captors later except “the bird” who refused to meet with him. Whatever demon possessed “the bird,” the man was not able to let go of it even years later. Maybe “the bird” couldn’t face his own evilness and guilt.
I think the reason Louie survived and thrived later after his release is that he possessed an extra measure of that quality of resilience or stubbornness that only some men (or women) are blessed with -that quality that allows some men to be survivors while others are not. I believe God blessed his life and his commitment.