Broken - Blu-ray Review

'So the fragile allegiances and conflicts of the English cul-de-sac are made, formed and disintegrated.'

Whilst Broken might have the appearance of your common or garden piece of social realism, don't be fooled. This doesn't deal in broad North/South stereotypes, I can only remember one shot of a kitchen sink and its plot - at least equal part Thriller and Drama - has much more going on than your average, about-the-houses, behind-net-curtains sad descent into considering cans of Tennents and broken homes.

Not that Broken isn't concerned with broken homes, or at least the sort that you can actually find on every street, of Northerly or Southerly English hemisphere. Centring on father, Archie (an impeccable Tim Roth) and daughter Skunk (a delightful Eloise Laurence), each finding a new relationship as age changes them, the vast balance of the rest of the cast is made up of two other families from the same cul-de-sac, both struggling with issues perhaps more profound that Skunk and Archie's appear. As the families clash and bounce off one another, Skunk and Archie are the pounded meat in the middle, the latter in particular trying to play occasional peace-maker, the former just trying to get on with being a kid.

Of the rest of the ragged band of characters, expertly pivoted by director Rufus Norris, the terrible Bob (Rory Kinnear) makes more than an impression, perfectly articulated by a frankly astounding Denis Lawson, who tells Archie in a key scene that he can't do anything about Bob because he's 'just so bloody scared of him'. So the fragile allegiances and conflicts of the English cul-de-sac are made, formed and disintegrated.

Missing the mark in this otherwise excellent equation are miniature ginger gangster Sunrise (Martha Bryant), who feels about as threatening as a dead greenfly and a really quite terrible ending. Norris must take at least half of the blame for this but screenwriter Mark O'Rowe is equally culpable. In the stunning, temple-clenching opening to the final act, both are in complete control but come the finale the latter fails to write anything and the former puts it on screen with all the tweeness of a Teletubbies episode.

That is a crying shame in many ways, because although the rest of the work here is too good to be fully marred by one significant miss-step, that miss-step costs Broken from achieving greatness. Make no mistake though, for the most part this is a searing domestic drama; touching, beautiful and threatening at the same time.




Broken is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 8th July 2013.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

No comments:

Post a comment