Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2013
Directed by
Allan Hughes
109 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Broken City

Synopsis: Discredited police detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) has become a private investigator to make ends meet, none too successfully. When he gets offered a very well-paid  assignment by NYC Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) he jumps at it, however he finds out that easy money isn’t so easy.

Broken City has been critically savaged in its home country and barely escaped a straight-to-DVD release but if you’re looking for a straight-ahead old-school thriller it pretty much ticks all the boxes – the script is nicely wrought, the direction is taut, the production design and cinematography are efficient and the performances are all strong, even if it is a bit of a stretch to take Russell Crowe as the Mayor of New York City.  

The film is very much in the Robert-Towne-out-of-Raymond-Chandler tradition of small-time private dicks meeting corruption in high places and finding themselves battling for their very existence. It's beefed up with the always intense Wahlberg and the no-Tooth-Fairy Crowe pouring on the testosterone like mustard on a hot dog while Catherine Zeta-Jones, appearing in yet another relatively small role (cf. the currently screening Side Effects) is suitably sexy as the Mayor’s trophy wife. Mention should also be made of Alona Tal as Billy's PA, a classic role that she plays with real pizzazz.

Brian Tucker’s script creates narrative depth with a few deft strokes while Allan Hughes keeps the tension wound tight throughout. Much of the criticism of the film has been addressed to its plot holes but heck, did that stop The Big Sleep becoming one of the most popular crime film of all time? Broken City won’t attain that status but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t hold your attention from go to whoa.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst