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British Film Review: Broken
Review By Siobhan Callas
Broken tells the intertwining story of three households in a North London cul de sac, seen through the eyes of eleven year old Skunk. After a violent attack on a mentally unstable neighbour, the lives of the streets’ residents continue to unravel in differing ways.
Broken is a nice mix of light and shade, fusing some genuinely funny and charming moments with that of heartache and turmoil. Its writing is witty and cleverly structured. The story might be one of familiarity but the visuals created by Norris are original and nicely detailed. The cinematography and music choices too add to the overall style. It is also good to see a story take place in a relatable setting, with working class and middle class families living side by side, each having their own set of problems, much like the majority of London.
The only slight negative is that because the film is based on a book which is set over a longer period, all of the dramatic plot points in Broken have to be crammed into a shorter time frame. This means that in the final act, the climactic moments of each family occur simultaneously, making it feel slightly contrived. But it builds up to this moment well enough that if you can suspend your disbelief it should be movingly effective. And personally I would rather this kind of set up than to watch another film which is built entirely on misfortune and grim ‘realist’ drama.
It’s also great to see British actors such as Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy step away from Hollywood blockbusters and play some interesting, flawed, yet pretty everyday British characters.
Broken has humour, heart and most impressively a unique style which I hope to see more of from new director of the screen Rufus Norris.
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