Cuba Pictures

91 min     6.8     2012     United Kingdom


Three suburban English families' lives intertwine with tragic consequences.


John Chard wrote:
Broken: Past Particle Of Break. Broken is directed by Rufus Norris and adapted to screenplay by Mark O'Rowe from Daniel Clay's novel. It stars Tim Roth, Eloise Laurence, Robert Emms, Rory Kinnear, Faye Daveney and Cillian Murphy. Music is by Electric Wave Bureau and cinematography by Rob Hardy. Theatre and Opera director Rufus Norris turns his hand to feature film, choosing for his debut a cunning slice of British miserabilism and knowing humour. Story is based in North London and primarily centres on a young girl affectionately known as Skunk! She witnesses a sickening act of violence in the cul de sac where she lives, from here the lives of the residents unfold in a number of identifiable ways. Thematically there's much going on, such observations on life's dilemmas from both a child and parenting point of view are superbly played out by the cast. It would have been easy for the makers to lean too heavy on the melodrama, or perform as if it's a headline torn straight from one of Britain's sensationalistic tabloids, but it's played with earthy realism, helped no end by the fulcrum setting of a residential cul de sac that on the surface looks normal, so therefore believable. But of course what lies behind a neighbour's door is rarely all glint and gold. The concurrent theme of violence, illness, heartbreak, grief, so basically life's strifes, gnaws away at the senses, but this is delicately balanced with much love and charm also on show, be it devotion to one's children, or the innocence of youth - puppy love/whimsy/ignorance/inquisitive leanings et al - this picture jabs at the heart in more ways than one. Norris and his team also have a nifty style of filming and scoring, very much putting us in the various frames of this story. It all builds to what in truth is a very crammed last quarter of film, because if ever there was a case for a much longer running time then this is a classic example. But it's just a niggle, and not enough to derail what is a moving, funny and crafty slice of Britannia. Yes! Even if the daring ending has proved divisive. 9/10