2013's Most Anticipated: Broken City

48. Broken City (R) - Runtime: 109 minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Cathering Zeta-Jones
Director: Allen Hughes
Writer: Brian Tucker

It's not very often that the Hughes Brothers make a movie (their last two efforts were 2010's The Book of Eli and 2001's From Hell. It's even rarer that one of the brother strikes out on his own (in fact, it's never happened!). And if you're a fan of the Hughes brothers, you may find yourself let down for Allen Hughes first solo directing gig. As much as I tried to enjoy the movie, there were too many problems - from editing to the acting to just the general plot that had me cringing throughout.

The movie starts off with a bang - literally - and we see a unkempt and unshaven Billy Taggert (Wahlberg) breathing heavily after gunning down an unarmed black kid. After being acquitted in the court, his career as a cop is over and cut to nine years later - he's a private investigator living month to month. Russell Crowe plays the mayor of New York City who hires Billy to investigate his wife. Nothing is as it seems and the plot soon unravels into much bigger problems than infidelity. The set up to the story is pretty good and I thought there would be some thrills and chills - but as the movie wore on, there were none of these things to be had. Instead, the plot is slow to develop and you just want things to get done instead of meandering about with side-plots.

Along with the slow-burn of a plot,  Broken City suffers from bad editing. Or at least I assume - there are several narratives that seem to be missing from the movie. At one point the movie brings up the sexual nature of the mayor's opponent (it's an election year), but is subsequently dropped in the next scene. It seems like there were some missing scenes that could have clarified certain situations (and possibly have helped with the pacing). On top of that, the whole film is just dreary - I don't remember a scene where the sun was shining. It practically rained throughout the entire movie. And I understand the implications of the dreary weather as a metaphor for the film, but the rest of the movie is just as dour and unappealing. I don't mind depressing movies, but there's not many positive and uplifting moments in this movie.

Even the performances weren't spectacular - although Crowe does a good job at playing the creepy and menacing mayor. Wahlberg is always good for playing a cop -but he didn't seem to have much depth other than "I've got to get some money!" And Jeffrey Wright seemed poorly utilized! It seemed like all the actors didn't put too much effort into this movie.

Broken City isn't necessarily a bad movie, it's just not a particularly good one, either! The plot is slow and convoluted to the point where you'll be scratching your head more than once. The characters make some odd choices and are annoyingly vague when it comes to answering questions. I'd say this is one you ought to skip entirely!

Rating: Not Worth Paying For!

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