Skip to main content

Movie Review: Broken City (2013)

Twentieth Century Fox
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Rated: R (for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence)
Director: Allen Hughes
Writer: Brian Tucker
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Crime | Drama | Thriller

Ex-cop “Billy Taggard” (Mark Wahlberg) has seen better days. He’s been doing private eye work since being bumped off of the police force after a controversial shooting seven years earlier. In the present, he has his struggling business with the help of a young and determined “Katy Bradshaw” (Alona Tal), but his girlfriend “Natalie Barrow” (Natalie Martinez) is who really keeps him going if anyone can be said to. And yet, his lack of any shared interests with her is something we notice before he does.

When asked by “Mayor Hostetler” (Russell Crowe) to find out whom his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is sleeping with, Billy is anxious to collect on what seems an easy assignment. But when Billy finds himself in the crosshairs of a murder, the issues of the Mayor’s integrity and his future come into sharp focus. At the cost of his own wellbeing, Billy must decide how far he will go to uncover the truth in what is rightly called a broken city.

Allen “The Book of Eli” Hughes’ film has all the makings of classic noir. Its performers set aside the necessary devotion to make it work. And everyone does a fairly good job, including Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Carl Fairbanks and Kyle Chandler as Paul Andrews, Cathleen Hostetler’s suspected lover. But Crowe’s Hostetler very lightly exhibits that he often has a harder time with bad guy roles than good guy roles.

Wahlberg, as usual, fosters that “fighting Irish kid” demeanor in another role his personality suits very well. His character’s complexity is strong enough to cause us to be drawn to him. His depth is more broad than most of his costars.

I liked Wahlberg’s temperamental determination and I liked the speed at which the story moves forward. The plot, although mundane, is built in such a way that it doesn’t play games with the audience or seek to manipulate our emotions. In hindsight, maybe that was part of the problem as the only big surprise is at the end.

The speed bump on the road to this movie’s (only marginal) success is its plainness. What it doesn’t have is any aspect of character or story that takes it out of the humdrum “corrupt city official needs to be brought down” theme.

That doesn’t hurt it much. It does, however, let us leave the theater feeling we have watched a completely average movie in every way, one that could have done way worse, but one that isn’t memorable enough to stay with us for long.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.