The thing that confuses me most about Broken City is that it is set today, in modern times. With a corrupt mayor, a sensual woman embroiled in an affair and a hard guy on a quest for truth and redemption, perhaps this ‘noiresque’ story of deceit and justice on the mean streets of New York should be left in the 50s. Then again, so many have gone before it you have to praise the bravery of the choice.
I couldn’t help but think that because of its winding plot with more twists, back-handed deals and lies than the Grand Theft Auto game series the story grows ever more improbable. And, while at times it’s hard to follow because of the sheer number of suited, tired-looking guys involved and constant double-crossing, essentially it rolls on fairly predictably.
That said, if you take Broken City for what it is, not particularly original but certainly not boring either the film is watchable and at times entertaining.
Russell Crowe, as the highly immoral and brutal mayor, Nicholas Hostetler hires ex-cop – with a dark past of his own – now private detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) to find out who is having an affair with his beautiful wife, played by Catherine Zeta Jones. There are underlying motives, of course.
In doing so, Taggart becomes entwined with lucrative yet foul deals deep in the city. An upcoming election with Hostetler up against the ‘good guy’ liberal Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper) leads to a load of other official business that would be better left to someone else to sort out, right?
The film concludes with a serious, tentative dilemma and the quite thrilling culmination of the mayoral election, as well as much unearthing of times past.
Overall, the script at times is lacking and the film loose in having any real, winning bite, but with some hugely impressive shots, alongside some good performances Broken City, director Allen Hughes’ first solo film is most definitely worth a go.
Director: Allen Hughes
Produced by: Randall Emmett; Mark Wahlberg; Stephen Levinson; Arnon Milchan; Teddy Schwarzman; Allen Hughes; Remington Chase
Russell Crowe; Mark Wahlberg; Catherine Zeta Jones
Running time: 109 minutes
- Joshua Barrie
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