Is it worth $10? Yes
“Broken City” suffered from an identity crisis. It tried too hard to be too many different things. At its soul it’s a political drama, but director Allan Hughes mixed in a horrible romantic subplot that went nowhere, some poorly filmed action, out of place humor (though it was funny), and some forced plot twists you could see from a mile away. It is still entertaining, and aside from the romantic subplot (which was put in the movie strictly for the purpose of trying to justify an action Mark Wahlberg takes), it never felt too boring or long in the tooth.
The story followed ex-cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) as he seeks redemption and revenge after he is double-crossed by his employer, Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe). Hostetler had hired Taggart, now a private eye, to spy on his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom he believed was cheating on her. Wahlberg showed some depth and range in his acting, and I actually felt like he had emotions in this (something not typical for his work, “The Fighter” aside). Russell Crowe proved that he is still worth a damn after his horrible performance in “Les Miserables.” The supporting cast (Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, Kyle Chandler) all did a fantastic job, and I I liked their characters more than the others. It continues to amaze me that Jeffrey Wright and Kyle Chandler don’t get starring roles in big films since both of them are leading man material.
What I really liked about this was how everything came together slowly over time. It was like they gave you a lot of the pieces up front, and slowly they come together (I foolishly tried to figure everything out). Granted most things you can see from a mile away, and the way in which it is delivered is very formulaic (you feel like you have seen this same exact plot in the past), but the cast keeps it interesting and entertaining. The ending seems very rushed, and somewhat open ended (think the ending of “Inception”) which made me feel that with just five more minutes they could have wrapped everything up nice and neat.
As a whole while “Broken City” is not without its flaws it is still strong enough to warrant a trip to the theater. Even though the pacing is a little off in the unnecessary romantic subplot, as a whole, it moves along at a decent speed. The acting was pretty exceptional, the plot was interesting, the writing decent, and the comic relief really caused the audience to burst out. Unfortunately the film suffers from a lack of true identity (it tried really hard to be a thriller, and it just wasn’t). In the end this stays just above average territory, but worthwhile nonetheless.
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