Review

'Against the Sun' is admirable but destined to be overshadowed

'Against the Sun' might not be able to escape shadows of 'Unbroken,' other films

Three U.S. Navy airmen stranded in the South Pacific battle the elements in the fact-based World War II drama "Against the Sun," but their greatest adversary ultimately proves to be timing.

The film follows on the heels of Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken," which includes an extended sequence also dealing with survival in the open ocean. "Against the Sun" also shares thematic elements and images with "All Is Lost" and "Life of Pi," against which the lower-profile production can't help but pale in comparison.

Crash-landing their torpedo bomber in the middle of the Pacific, 1,000 miles from land, a pilot (Garret Dillahunt of "Raising Hope"), a bombardier (Tom Felton of the "Harry Potter" franchise) and a radio operator (Jake Abel) fight for their lives in a tiny raft with violent storms and sharks circling above and below.

The film is based on Robert Trumbull's "The Raft," a 1942 account of a harrowing 34-day ordeal. Directed by Brian Falk and written by Falk and Mark David Keegan, it does an admirable job working within the tight constraints of that inflatable boat and a minimal budget.

All three actors turn in solid, committed performances despite physically limiting surroundings, even as you're left with the inescapable feeling that this raft has sailed.

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"Against the Sun"

MPAA rating: PG for thematic material, language.

Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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