Movie Review: BROKEN CITY (2013)
It`s not often, but at times there are movies with great cast and amazing potential that fall flat, go nowhere and do very little to drum up interest in the story. BROKEN CITY is such a movie. Here is my Movie Review…
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Mark Wahlberg has always been a hit and miss kind of actor. His potential is wasted more often than it is utilized. Russell Crowe on the other hand is known for giving the best performances, despite the quality of the film itself. So when these two amazing actors come together for a dramatic thriller, anticipations are high. BROKEN CITY is about a corrupt Mayor, played by Crowe and a disgraced former Police Officer, now working as a Private Investigator. There’s a scene in the movie where a character asks if “Private Eyes” still exist. My thoughts exactly.
Wahlberg’s Billy Taggart is hired by the Mayor to investigate his wife’s infidelity, but all is not as they appear as political agendas swirl and surround Billy Taggart, forcing him into a corner. In the first scene, we see Taggart being forced to leave the Police Force due to evidence of questionable behaviour and a controversy regarding the shooting of a supposed street thug. Years later, Crowe’s Mayor Hostetler comes to him for help. As the story unfolds, Taggart discovers that the Mayor essentially sets him up, using proof of his past to blackmail him to keep quiet about a scandalous murder that directly affects the Mayor’s re-election, and the fate of a rival politician. It`s a conspiracy style thriller… that just doesn`t matter.
The final twist in the end, where the Mayor reveals the fact that he has damning proof against Taggart, essentially twisting his arm to stay quiet about the Mayor’s corruption, is not that big of a twist. Through out the movie, it’s hinted at that Taggart did what he did consciously, and purely to avenge the wrong that the thug committed against his lover and her family. We’ve got people thanking him for his ‘sacrifice’, being grateful for everything he did to get justice for the victim… and so on. So to get confirmation that he did, exactly what the audience already knows he did… makes very little sense. This is compounded by the fact that Taggart spends just as less time even considering the damning evidence against him before he, once again, gives up his life to do what he think is right. There’s no struggle in the decision making process which at the same time, doesn’t give the audience any reason to care for the guy or feel any sympathy for him. It’s a loose story and an even worse telling of it.
The performances are just as weak. Wahlberg doesn’t emote in this at all. His dry deadpan face is usually great when it comes to his more comic roles, but in a supposed dramatic film, he’s too straight laced. Especially when playing a character that’s being set up and has everything to lose. Even the moments with his lover, where the character could easily have been played like someone to be related to, he comes off as a boorish grunt, than an emotionally troubled lover. If those scenes were meant to show the toll the investigation with the Mayor was taking on Taggart, it was a point completely glossed over by the makers. So kind of hard to care about the guy really.
Russell Crowe is just as flat and monotone. There is no suspense during the film of him being an unethical Mayor, as the first scene reveals him to be so. Throughout the film, he plays the role of a man masking his evil with a facade of cheerful tact and diplomacy. However, the story shows it to be fake right off the bat, so it dulls the impact of the revelations of wrong doing on the Mayor’s part, when he finally discover that it’s a conspiracy and that Taggart was set up. Catherine Zeta-Jones is adept in the very few scenes she is in.
BROKEN CITY doesn’t work as anything. It’s not suspenseful, it’s not thrilling, it’s barely dramatic and it’s not even enjoyable seeing some great actors together on screen together. It’s a boring affair and the story leaves very little to be interested in.