The Telegraph: "The film settles into a Forrest Gumpian groove that doesn’t glorify the human spirit so much as sap it ... Jolie’s a fascinating actress, a fascinating star, and now a film director on whom the jury is out, with worried-face."
The Wrap: "The film boasts both sheen and efficiency without always delivering an equivalent emotional impact. It's easier to be awed or impressed by it than moved ... There are powerful moments in “Unbroken,” to be sure, but it also feels like the kind of generically grand-scale movie that five other directors could have made in exactly the same way."
The Guardian: "Though high-minded and well-intentioned – as well as being conceived on an epic scale – there’s something faintly stodgy and safety-first about the endeavour ... Jolie’s stolidly conventional approach to the material hardly freshens it up ... The goodwill she has inside and outside Hollywood may generate some Oscar nominations but, like her first film, the Bosnian war drama In the Land of Blood and Honey, there’s a reined-in, by-the-book quality to much of the film-making that doesn’t exactly add to its impact. Zamperini’s is an inspiring story all right, but in Jolie’s hands it’s all a bit “inspirational” – quote-unquote."
Variety: "It’s an extraordinary story told in dutiful, unexceptional terms, the passionate commitment of all involved rarely achieving gut-level impact ... Zamperini’s post-rescue conversion and his subsequent attempts at a moral reckoning with his captors are dispensed with in the closing titles, leaving you blinking at the unrealized potential of a longer, bolder and more spiritually inquisitive movie than this one."
Indiewire: "Her emerging career behind the camera [has resulted in] a pair of routine but well-intentioned war dramas ... The movie finds Jolie flexing more sentimental muscles, resulting in a classical feel-good wartime excursion. That's just enough to make the movie work in the confines of its formula while laying its limitations bare ... It's hard not to get the feeling that Jolie's become too enamored of her subject to portray him as a human being."
Screen Daily: "Directing her second dramatic feature, Jolie doesn’t vary the pace or tone much during the raft and camp sequences and while she mostly avoids POW movie cliches she doesn’t find much to put in their place to explain Zamperini’s fortitude (early hints that religious faith played a part are not followed up on)."
The Hollywood Reporter: "A great true story is telescoped down to a merely good one in Unbroken. After a dynamite first half-hour, Angelina Jolie's accomplished second outing as a director slowly loses steam ... In the great old studio days of the 1930s, writers, directors and actors knew how to give supporting roles real character and sharp identities within a few seconds; such is emphatically not the case here."
Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Screen Daily, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, The Wrap