Sunday, 20 January 2013

[Movie Review] Broken City: This City Needs Some Fixing!

Cast: Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Director: Allen Hughes
Genre: Crime, Drama
Runtime: 1 hour and 49 minutes.
Movie reviewed at: PVR Cinemas, Udaipur.

You’ve got a dearth of concepts and still you got to reel out a movie? Let Gods be my witness, for there is no better funda out there than an attempt at the crime noir. But don’t you forget to sprinkle political satire over it for it serves as a perfect topping for the movie-goers.

Broken City is a hard-core political drama with an impressive cast of Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe that falls flat on the ground with a huge thud. The director, Allen Hughes, who earlier helmed movies like ‘The Book of Eli’ and ‘From Hell’ (Not that they were too great either!), finds himself in not-so-good form as the whole structure crumbles after getting off to a more-than-decent start.

Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is a cop who is struggling to redeem himself from a crime of passion he committed in his past days; A Mayor, Hostetler (Russell Crowe) hard-pressed upon earning himself some heavy bucks all in the name of city development and there is Mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who is allegedly having an affair with an opposite party fella who further had grave intentions and strategies to take Hostetler down. So, to make things a little less grim, Mayor appoints Taggart as a private eye for his wife and that, in a nutshell, is Broken City. Eh, hotchpotch, right?

Frankly, it started out with flying colors. The writing seemed tight and so was the brisk pace with which the movie was unfolding. But then came the real collapse, somewhere around the end of the first hour and after that, it was all down the lane for Broken City. The ending was seen from a mile away and then it was a mere formulaic wait for the culmination with a twist that is even lamer than the thought of a kangaroo on a motorbike!

Strangely, while dropping under the thriller genre, Broken City is downright thrill-free. It rushes when it should have set his feet and limps when it should have sprinted towards the climax.

One wonders what could have been the reaction to Broken City back in 80’s, a clap somewhere or a couple of praises in some spaces. But, to the director’s horror, this is ’13 and such premises have been rehashed and rattled a countless times. But, to the delights of the audiences, we still have Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg giving stellar performances throughout the run-time. It is indeed fascinating to see the actors in total command even when the ship is sinking from every possible side.

Ultimately, Broken City swings hard but misses the ball. Till the time the end credits roll, it ends up being fractured, but one can never deny the grittiness of this attempt!

Rating: 2/5

(first published in

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