Broken (2012)

Drama
Cillian Murphy, Lily James, Tim Roth, Robert Emms
The story of a young girl in North London whose life changes after witnessing a violent attack.
  • Film Movement Company:
  • MA15+ Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 22 Aug 2012 Released:
  • 05 Nov 2013 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

A little gem amongst the usual dross. Go see it.9/10
The three families this story entwines are Broken in different ways, all live at the end of a cul-de-sac, a nearby scrapyard features in many shots where the crushing, mangling and pounding of cars in many ways reflects their lives. The central character is the insulin dependant twelve Year old 'skunk' played by Eloise Laurence. She lives with her father Archie, (the ever reliable Tim Roth) older brother Jed and their live in housekeeper Kasia.

Rory Kinnear is Bob the separated father of three near feral girls who run riot both at school and at home. When Bob finds a condom that one of the girls has been innocently playing with he jumps to the wrong conclusion. Which culminates in him giving a beating to Rick the backward son of Mr and Mrs Buckley. This is witnessed by Skunk and kickstarts an ultimately fatal chain of events. Running parallel with the story of these three families there is the on off relationship between housekeeper Kasia and schoolteacher Mike (Cillian Murphy). Plus the arrival of a traveller child Dillon who befriends Skunk.

If you enjoy Brit flicks in the mould of Mike Leigh or Shane Meadows this is a must see. Sparking on themes of love, loss, friendship and violence, this is a confident and unfussy directorial debut by Rufus Norris comfortably adapting to celluloid from the theatre. The way the story and characters interweave never feels contrived. The child actors are superb especially Martha Bryant as the youngest of the feral siblings who is outstanding. As is Laurence as Skunk who also sings on a couple of the Damon Albarn songs on the soundtrack.

The strange but ever reliable sign of a good movie is that amongst the dross at my local Cineworld this is only on show for one week (go figure). Cineworld get your ten screen act together please and support great British movies of this ilk. Films as good as this are few and far between throughout the year so get on the bus; to hell with the expense treat yourself to a taxi but get to the big screen and watch this little gem.
Just a stunning, harsh, real, heat-warming film.9/10
This is going to be a very quick review as I do not wish to give anything away. It is a gritty, beautifully made, completely believable gem of a film.

The story could be set in any street in the UK and no doubt most will realise parallels with our own lives. Laughter, sorrow, pain, joy and all the things that make a stunner of a movie.

Brilliant acting through-out and no-doubt we will see these young stars again in the future. Tim Roth is Tim Roth and never lets you down so no news there.

Just go watch it.
A breathtaking film9/10
From the very beginning of the film, I got hooked by the beautiful cinematography and style, by the choice of characters and the accuracy of the details and by the visual storytelling that reminded me again and again why I fell in love with cinema in the first place.

The subject treated in this movie may not be something new for the viewers but what I am certain of is that director "Ruffus Norris" really has a great vision and an amazing ability to capture the audience's complete attention every single second of the film, allowing the movie to drive them.

You'll definitely enjoy watching this movie and I assure you, it will be quite an experience. Few movies have succeeded in capturing me to the last frame but Broken is one of them, again, a courtesy of the amazing cinema of England.

The movie is based on the concept of causes and consequences that lead to certain actions and results that may be good or bad depending on the situation. It is set in a small neighborhood where the stories of the characters living there intertwine in a beautiful way.

It is a story about the loss of innocence, childhood, unfortunate events and people trying to do "good", and forced to do "bad".

Enough said, this film is definitely a must-watch this year.
Sometimes 'broken' may be repaired. But not always.10/10
To borrow a line from my review of last year's heartbreaking film, The Hunt (Jagten), sometimes children lie. Sometimes they are simple, instinctive lies; sometimes they are calculated as an easy escape from a truth that may have dark consequences and sometimes lives are broken as a result.

When 11-year old Skunk (Eloise Laurence in her film debut) witnesses a swift but brutal attack in the quiet avenue where she lives, a series of violent events, both physical and emotional, ensues that has a devastating impact on three families.

The three families, each dysfunctional in their own ways, would not ordinarily have anything in common and would not be drawn to one another, but we see them confined in a small cul-de-sac like trapped, wild animals thrown into the same cage and each missing some of the essentials for an equanimous life. In a strange way, this could be a suburban take on Life of Pi with a young girl trying to make sense of a mad world. The tragedy is circumstance, but that's no excuse for the way some of the neighbours enact their lives, escalating lies and compounding mistakes.

But though all sounds bleak, Broken is occasionally beautiful, frequently touching and often funny and, again, it is all these things because it is so real. Watching Skunk and her brother, Jed (Bill Milner, Will from Son of Rambow), wrestling, clipping clothes pegs to each other and hanging out in their camp, brings back memories of childhood when the world seemed against us but there was always an escape to a bright, fantasy existence.

The humour comes not from cheesy asides or self-conscious jokes but from delightfully extraneous happenings on the periphery: the crashing descent of a car in a breakers yard, a boy dancing alone in a car park and a pair of twins with poo in a slingshot… That director Rufus Norris (another debut) has paid such care to the incidentals makes Broken a more complete film.

His choice of music is fantastically inelegant. Forget the whimsy of Rachel Portman (Chocolat) or the rousing scores of John Williams (do you really need me to tell you?), what carries Broken is close to the demo tune on a 1980s Cassio keyboard with Rolf Harris twanging along on a Jew's harp. And if that isn't sufficient to lighten the mood, as characters on the screen struggle to make sense of the dark craziness of life, along pops a song to celebrate the bizarre madness of it and we are permitted to laugh as the singer intones 'One day when I'm really old, and my hair falls out, I'll stick it back with the spoon of the marmalade that you made…' It's rare that I mention the editing but Victoria Boydell has sensitively cut a story to match the patterns of our minds. Occasionally we jump forwards by minutes as if reading an exciting novel, our eyes sprinting ahead until our brain slows us down, then seamlessly we step back to see in everything fully and in order.

Norris has cast Broken faultlessly. The star name upon which it's sold is Tim Roth as Archie, Skunk's dad, a single parent who is the calm, reasonable father in the middle of a minor battlefield. It's unfathomable, watching him here, that he isn't a bigger star. Archie is clearly a man with great pressure in an unenviable situation but he doesn't simply make the best of it, he endeavours to make it the best it can be. It is a wonderful, understated performance that I suspect few will see.

Laurence is a revelation and the emotional fullness with which she inhabits Skunk allows us to root for her and silently admonish her, because she could easily be the girl next door.

There isn't a poor performance in Broken, only characters you care for and those from whom you'd run a mile. Rory Kinnear (son of Roy) as Bob, gives us a man who is, on the face of it, the neighbor from hell with a trio of daughters to match but he's no two-dimensional villain, rather a damaged man with his own daemons he is unable to cope with. In contrast, Kasia (Zana Marjanovich), the friend who lives with Archie as a cross between friend, auntie and surrogate mother, brings a gentle, caring irreverence in the midst of the turmoil but she, too, has her 'edge.' Robert Emms, so often an invisible supporting actor, is breath-drawingly good as the mentally ill, victimized Rick who struggles to cope with the various warzones into which he is cast. He is the hate-figure of Bob and his daughters, the cause of weariness and frustration in his parents (superb turns from Dennis Lawson & Clare Burt) and, more than anything, the terrifying confusion in his mind. His character evolution is superb and our own feelings towards him are as confused as his own.

Once the credits had rolled, I sat in silence and reflected on how life runs away from us and we are subject to its whims. Sometimes we emerge the beneficiaries, sometimes the victims. Perhaps this is simple karma; perhaps it is fatalism. Or maybe everything is random or even the result of misunderstandings and the inability of mere humans to communicate their feelings openly, simply and honestly.

Broken asks the questions but leaves us to draw our own conclusions.

Sometimes 'broken' may be repaired. But not always.

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Excellent drama film8/10
'Broken' is an excellent example of just how good British drama films/series can be when they are done right. The film is straight to the point and develops at a good pace with lots of different things going on between the various characters.

There is a lot of characters in this film (3 different families who are all neighbours) and we see how their lives are affected by various going ons. This film really doesn't hold back, some of the scenes and subjects will be uncomfortable for some viewers. I really didn't like the Oswald family but the story really wouldn't have worked without them.

I really liked how parts of this film where done, we would see something happen unexpectedly and then it would flashback to show the build up to it from a different perspective. The story linked together really well. It is very engaging although some parts are unrealistic.

The acting in this film was nothing short of superb from everyone. There was a lot of familiar faces but the star of the show has to be Eloise Laurence who made her acting debut in the lead role as Skunk.

It's a shame this film probably won't get the recognition it deserves due to it being relatively unheard of. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good dram film, you won't be disappointed.

8/10.