Director: Allen Hughes
Writer: Brian Tucker
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Michael Beach, Kyle Chandler, James Ransone, Griffin Dunne
Billy (Mark Wahlberg) is a policeman who shot a rapist who went free. During his trial where he claims self-defence, new evidence comes up but is quickly surpressed by Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) and Comissioner Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright). Despite being found not guilty, Billy is let go and earns his money by doing investigation work from then on. Years later in the middle of election time, Hostetler contacts him again to have him investigate his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). But there’s apparently more to the story than just mere infidelity.
Broken City was a decent thriller but nothing that really blew me away, apart from Russell Crowe who obviously had fun with this one. The characters are a little too clichéd to work, the story is unfocused and all of that leaves you a little dissatisfied.
I must say, it’s been quite a while that I enjoyed Russell Crowe as much in movies as this year with this one and Les Misérables. In Les Mis, it was all the ham. In this one he does turn it up, too. But it didn’t feel hammy. Maybe that’s because his character was written as a caricature, so his tearing into the part with gusto just fit the rest. In any case, it was great. The same goes for Catherine Zeta-Jones who got her mimic back which is good for her.
But the rest of the film was pretty much a catastrophe. None of the characters actually got any depth, but in all their superficiality, one thing is completely clear: everybody is an asshole. Who should we root for? Nobody knows. [Well, I quite liked Natalie (Natalie Martinez), Billy’s girlfriend, who, unfortunately, disappeared halfway through the film, after it’s made clear how absolutely icky her relationship with Billy actually is.]
The plotting was worse, though. Most of the minor characters are dropped like hot potatoes and quickly forgotten when the movie goes on to focus on other things, never to be returned to or get any kind of closure. But even the main plotline isn’t really up to snuff, though there is nothing worse there than the usual mediocre-crime-plot hand-waving.
In the end it just isn’t enough to make for a satisfying movie and it all starts to really drag around the middle. But at least I’ll always have Russell Crowe.