Big Screen :: Broken
May 23rd 2013
Rufus Norris’ directorial debut ‘Broken’ is an odd blend of hard hitting British social decay and quirky ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ comedy.
A movie that features a sweet, little, preteen romance that reminded me of ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and a tragic, drunken, fourteen year old pregnant girl. With no idea which of several, potential candidates is the father, she has to walk a very fine tightrope.
It shouldn’t really work but it does. Mostly…
‘Broken’ is an ensemble piece set in a cul-de-sac in Britain somewhere.
A young girl nicknamed ‘Skunk’ is set to start high-school. Her mother having run off with an accountant from Birmingham, her father is struggles to cope. He has employed a live-in Polish housekeeper who is forever awaiting a proposal from her school teacher boyfriend.
The three girls from next door are also living without a mother and cope by drinking, fighting and screwing around. Following the example of their thug father who opens the movie by bashing the shit out of a mentally disabled guy from a third family across the way.
This is an assured feature-length debut from Rufus Norris, who has a background in the theatre. He tackles the tonal shifts head on and until a climax that gets a bit stupid I think he gets it mostly right. The light comedy actually serving to heighten the impact of the occasionally brutal violence.
Norris is aided by a seriously great performance from Eloise Laurence as Skunk. This character that had the potential to be one of those twelve year olds that only exists in the minds of lazy screen writers, but who Laurence manages to bring to life.
She is supported by veterans Tim Roth as the father and Cillian Murphy as the boyfriend.
Broken is a small movie and a minor success but it’s worth checking out all the same.