Broken (2012)

Broken (2012)

(2012)

Based on the 2008 novel, in turn inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird, this British coming-of-age drama stars Tim Roth as the father of 11-year-old Skunk, a girl who witnesses her neighbour viciously beating one of her few friends. The violent attack changes the girl, affecting her father, her caregiver and her caregiver’s ex-partner (Cillian Murphy), who is also Skunk’s favourite teacher. Winner of Best Film at British Independent Awards 2012.

Flicks Review

Rufus Norris’ debut feature Broken sits uncomfortably between two schools of Brit filmmaking: the coming-of-age warm-heartedness of Shane Meadows, Billy Elliot et al, and the kitchen sink grittiness of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. He hasn’t quite nailed the tonal juggling act yet; as such the film feels prosaic, and punishingly one-note in its grimness, throwing all manner of timely button-pushers - false rape accusations, mental illness, single parenting, teenage sex - into the pot in the hope that something sticks. It basically amounts to a contrived, feel-bad suburban melodrama where a series of head-slapping misunderstandings lead to everyone being as miserable as possible.... More

Tim Roth gives a fine, understated performance as Archie, the single father of 11-year-old Skunk (impressive first-timer Eloise Laurence), a Type-1 diabetes sufferer who witnesses a brutal attack in their North London cul-de-sac that sets off a chain reaction affecting the lives of all three families living there.

One wishes that Mark O’Rowe’s needlessly time-fractured screenplay, based on Daniel Clay’s To Kill a Mockingbird-inspired novel, had given these characters more room to breathe and develop into people who feel authentically lived-in. The short running time results in supporting players like Rory Kinnear, as the overprotective father-of-three-girls, coming off looking somewhat cartoonish, and the subplot with Cillian Murphy’s teacher and his dissolving romance with Archie’s housekeeper Kasia (Zana Marjanovic) having a soap-by-numbers quality that fails to resonate as much as the other narrative threads.

Broken is watchable, and well-acted - the charmingly pixie-ish Laurence in particular - but ultimately doesn’t offer enough to distinguish itself in an overcrowded genre.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 1 ratings, 2 reviews
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BY tankgirl nobody

I went to this film solely to see Tim Roth. No disappointment there.
But the young 'skunk' surely stole the show with her amazing acting. The film had a slow build up, which at times had me yawning whilest knowing 'something' was going to happen. And happen it did....


BY freshdude superstar

Chosen to open "la semaine de la critique" at last year's Cannes festival, "Broken" is at once fascinating and disturbing.
Rufus Norris debut feature is indeed audacious. It sits comfortably somewhere between gritty social realism and poetic coming of age. It seems a lot of critics are struggling with the fact that it does not stick to the one genres we are used to expect from British cinema. On the contrary I thought this was utterly refreshing. With 11 awards nominations and 6 wins... More (including best British independent feature at the British Independent film Awards, and best International feature film at the Zurich festival), it seems my opinion of "Broken" is shared.

It manages to venture into dark matters without giving in to depression while intimate moments are showed with beautiful humanity. If you're lucky enough to be in an area where "Broken" is showing, go see it.Hide


The Press Reviews

62% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Newcomer Laurence gives the standout performance as the smart, precociously mature tween, but the ensemble cast all handle the tough, emotionally honest material with sensitivity. Full Review

  • Often strained and self-conscious, but newcomer Eloise Laurence is a real find. Full Review

  • The result believably charts a girl’s coming of age but is eventually capsized by lurid melodrama even Brookside would have found excessive. Full Review

  • Melding heightened drama with quirky, state-of-the-nation social realism, the pic aims to undercut epic plot contrivance... Full Review

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