Movie Review: Broken City (2013)

Posted: January 19, 2014 in Drama

broken city

Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is a police officer in New York City, who resigns after being exonerated for shooting the man who raped his wife Natalie’s (Natalie Martinez) sister.  Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) admires the disgraced cop, and hires him to tail his wife, Cathleen (Catherine Zita Jones) who the mayor suspects is having an affair.  Billy follows Cathleen, gets some incriminating photos of Cathleen with a man named Paul Andrews, (Kyle Chandler) and gives them to Mayor Hostetler.  Suddenly, Paul Andrews is dead, and the police commissioner, Carl Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright) is asking questions.  Who is Paul Andrews, does his death affect Hostetler’s re-election campaign against newcomer Jack Valliant? (Barry Pepper)

I did not like Broken City at all.  It’s a run-of-the-mill drama, trying to be a crime drama, and a movie about political corruption, it fails on both counts.  First of all, the story flashes forward 7 years and the mayor is running for re-election?  What?  Michael Bloomberg, the real mayor of New York ran for a third term, but only after getting the term limit law rescinded by the city council, and people hated Bloomberg for that.  If the writer doesn’t know about term limits, he should not be writing a movie about politics.  There are too many subplots.  Billy and the shooting, avenging his sister-in-law’s rape, Billy’s drinking problem, Natalie’s acting career, Natalie’s nude scene and affair with the lead actor, all detract from the main plot.  There is a plot twist, but the plot twist doesn’t make the plot any more interesting.  There is a little nudity, so keep the kids away, and the adults may want to stay away because this movie is too long and too boring.

The acting is just so-so.  Russell Crowe’s monumental struggles with a New York accent eliminate any dramatic edge the role may have had. This is the second disappointing role I’ve seen him in after strong performances in Man of Steel and Les Miserables.  His other woeful performance was in The Man With The Golden Fists. Wahlberg does a very workmanlike and boring reading of his role.  Catherine Zita Jones showed some verve in her role, but it’s far too small a role.  Kyle Chandler, who’s also very good in The Wolf Of Wall Street, has a few intense scenes in this movie, but again, it’s a small role.

The writing is atrocious, the term limits error is just sloppy and shows not even a basic understanding of politics, a cop accused of killing a kid in cold blood would never be tried by a judge, that strains credulity, and what kind of character name is Jack Valliant?  That sounds like the alter-ego for a superhero, not a politician.

Broken City.  Give Me a Break!


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