Movie Review: Broken City. Exactly.

January 28th, 2013 at 7:45 am by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the Broken City trailer.

Official movie poster for “Broken City”.

So you look at a film like Broken City and you think — look at that cast!  At least I did when I was deciding whether or not to see it…

You’ve got Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones and Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg… and you have to think that they knew what they were doing when they took the parts, right?

Having seen it now, I have to think, no. No they didn’t.

Let’s start with the plot:  As the story begins — Mayor Hostetter (Crowe) washes away some very incriminating evidence for police officer Billy Taggert (Wahlberg) guaranteeing that Taggert is now forever in his debt.

Immediately fast forward seven years to the bulk of the movie.  The Mayor hires Taggert — now a Private Investigator and recovering alcoholic — to track his wife (Zeta Jones) who he claims to believe is having an affair.

It’s all an elaborate scheme to cover up a bunch of stuff during an election year, but we see it coming.  Political speeches, car chases, shootings, shredding of important documents, a fall off the wagon, a relationship break up and oh the revelation of righteousness.  By the time Taggert is figuring it all out I’ve planned tomorrow’s grocery list and come back to see what happens when he decided to confront the Mayor.

Broken City has some really broken parts.  The storyline is predictable, and for the most part, the acting is sub-par — which means the directing left much to be desired.  How is a character drunk as heck at one point in a bar and then sober as all get out seconds later at a crime scene?  Taggert has a girlfriend for about one fifth of the film.  She’s an actress working on an indy film — who breaks up with him.  Who knows why?  It’s irrelevant and never contributes anything to the film.

Crowe tries to turn a powerful performance but the dialogue is weak and so is his attempt at an accent.  It went in and out of New Yorker, throwing in a dash of almost Irish, and then non-descript American, with a hint here and there of his native tongue.

Zeta-Jones film choices of late have left a lot to be desired… and Broken City is no different.  A lot of melodramatic overacting.

Wahlberg has his standard look for most of the film — that almost confused, grimacing forehead, but handsome look.  He did what he could with what he had to work with… but that unfortunately wasn’t much.

I checked the time multiple times during the movie, a sure sign that it’s slow and the viewer got bored!   To say Broken City is “broken” would be cliche.  But then so is most of the film.


Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence.


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