Released on Jan. 18, “Broken City” is a prime example of the rotten garbage that comes out in the wake of the holiday season’s blockbusters and Oscar nominees.
At the start, cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is being investigated in court about a shooting. Seven years later, Billy is a private detective after leaving the police force due to the controversial shooting. Struggling with finances at his business, Billy immediately accepts a job from Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) to investigate his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and find out with whom she’s having an affair before Election Day. After he’s informed the mayor, the man he photographed (Kyle Chandler) is found shot and Billy’s conscience is restless. He is determined to seek justice.
An overloaded attempt at suspense and action with some political campaigning tossed in, “Broken City” does not work as an action, thriller, or drama. The big final conflict is shown in the trailer, so you know what’s coming if you somehow miss all of the highlighted clues. The action is pathetic; mostly Billy is very aggressive and impulsive.
And speaking of aggressive, Billy is a jerk. He’s homophobic, violent, jealous, and self-righteous; he never feels guilt or sorry for his actions. He acknowledges that there are consequences to his actions, but he feels his actions are justified. We are supposed to root for his character despite his flaws, but there are just so many of them.
I’m beginning to think Mark Wahlberg just shouldn’t do movies anymore; he makes a lot of horrible choices. He is far better at comedy (like “Ted”), but he keeps making horrible action thrillers; “Contraband” was horrible last year, “Broken City” is one of my least favorite movies of the last ten years, and I have no hopes for upcoming “Pain & Gain.”
“Broken City” is the kind of film I’ve begun to expect from Wahlberg, but I can’t imagine why Kyle Chandler and Catherine Zeta-Jones are supporting actors in the film. It is a complete waste of their talents, though Chandler is the only character that doesn’t feel like a cardboard cutout. Barry Pepper tries to give depth to the rival candidate, but he’s overly emotional and too intense for the rest of the unfeeling characters.
“Broken City” tries to build suspense, but there is nothing interesting about it. The characters are lifeless and the plot is seriously overcomplicated; a few new characters are dropped in to keep the plot twisting, but there is no intelligence in the movement of story. References at the beginning of the film are dropped so heavily that there is no surprise when they return at the ending.
Personally, I found much of the “Broken City” very offensive and the quality of filmmaking isn’t even good; the sound quality is ridiculous in which multiple scenes’ voice dubbing isn’t even timed properly. Combined with too aggressive and too bland characters and no intensity of plot, “Broken City” offers absolutely nothing worth watching. It is now clear which of the Hughes Brothers has the talent for directing; it’s not Allen.
Rating for “Broken City:” F
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
Unfortunately, “Broken City” is wasting space and time in most theaters in Columbus, including Movie Tavern Mill Run and Gateway. For showtimes, click here.