Allen Hughes' "Broken City" Review

Broken City (2013) Film Poster

Directed by Allen Hughes of the famous Hughes Brothers, Broken City is an attempt to merge a detective adventure with political drama and murder mystery. Billy Taggard (Mark Wahlberg) is a New York cop who, in an unforeseen event, kills a man who had been malevolent to the sister of his girlfriend (Natalie Martinez).  Billy, in spite of being a bit silly, defies the bars of jail as Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russel Crowe) is a well wisher.

Billy loses his police uniform and turns into a private investigator. He soon gets  a call from the Mayor himself who offers him a hefty amount to investigate something very personal. He suspects that his wife Cathleen Hostetler is having an extra marital and asks Billy to find out more.

Once on his mission, Billy chases a man Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler) with the looks of a Greek God. Billy manages to get his hands on some sensitive pictures of Cathleen at one of her wild games. Billy delivers these to the Mayor and receives his due as contracted.

At this point, the film surprises with Cathleen offering Billy a handsome amount to keep his nose out of her matter. Billy declines but does not forget to ask for an explanation. The explanation is actually revealed to the audience through the rest of the film.

Billy realizes he is being double-crossed, and the case is the tip of an iceberg. Things get murkier as Paul Andrews gets murdered. Billy starts to get of glimpse of a  huge scam involving powerful people ...

Allen Hughes has tried to make the film interesting with new treatment of the familiar plot. He does make the approach look modern but the plot becomes too predictable (more for mystery movie buffs) as it nears the climax. Brian Tucker, the writer of the film, can be praised for plot building though he falls short when unwinding the plot.

The star cast is the draw of the movie. Mark is the showman and has done his job impressively. Russel Crowe does not let down his fans either but he is no ‘Gladiator’ in this film and his fans should accept that with 'A Beautiful Mind’. Catherine Zeta Zones is the perfect adventurous wife who does not mind the urban concrete jungle. Dwellers of any city may or may not like a first lady like her character, but the audience will always like to see such a lady first.

The original score by Atticus Ross and music by Claudia Sarne and Leopold Ross do put good effects on the film but a greater variation was needed as the film goes through twists and turns.

The cinematography is one of the better aspects of the film as both outdoor and indoor shots were canned with equal caliber. New York City gets darker (highly needed for the plot) through Ben Seresin’s lens.

‘Broken City’ is not a film which will fill up the theaters making the city empty, but it will not leave those who turn up with broken hearts either.


Watch: Broken City (2013) Film Trailer

Mark Wahlberg, Russel Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones come together in the crime drama but they fall short of expectations due to the cliched plot.

- Jyoti Prakash Mandal (jpmandal@washingtonbanglaradio.com)



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