Broken (2013) Dir. Rufus Norris
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Blurb: Three suburban English families' lives intertwine with tragic consequences. The story of a young girl in North London whose life changes after witnessing a violent attack.
Thoughts: A thoroughly unsatisfying 3 stars.
Broken starts out full of energy, three stereotypical familes in three stereotypical houses on a stereotypical British street (they wish a typical street in England was this nice) and the promise of dark events and lashings of conflict.
Slowly you realise that the director is playing games with you, instead of making an accurate portrait of Broken Britain he's sugar coating things, instead of real relationships he is going to show you ideals. Instead of looking at reality he is going to demonise the weakest elements of the society he chooses to show. The upwardly mobile working class are evil. The mentally handicapped are evil.
Every time there's a decision to make that would make this film better, harder, edgier, more realistic, he takes the easy and lazy option. Of course the chavs are evil, the Daily Mail says so. Naturally the handicapped guy is a danger to children, the Daily Mail says so. By the time the third act drags the carcass of an already rotting film towards the finish line I could take no more as every obvious event unfolds exactly as expected. Even chavs hate the handicapped so they can't all be bad can they?
I know it is based on a novel which potentially was written for young teens or those adults with arrested development (most of the world?) so perhaps most of the blame should lay with the guy wrote the novel or the guy who adapted it for the screen and I am so disgusted with them that I won't even bother looking up their names.
This gets the three stars because every single caricature is played to perfection, there's not a bad performance amongst them. Eloise Laurence shines as the lead girl and deserves all the praise in the world but her supporting cast led by a delightfully accurate Rory Kinnear should bask in the collective glow of a job well done.
In addition, I'm pretty certain there is at least one scene filmed in Hatfield, a town I sadly spent a fair amount of time living in. Spotting its shitty abandoned town centre cleaned up with some fake shops put in was a particular highlight for me and justifies every bad thought I ever had about the place.
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