Broken Review

Grown-ups are funny.

They have all these strange ideas about the world, like you should find yourself some sort of nice building to spend most of your time in while you push around usually meaningless pieces of paper, in exchange for receiving other pieces of paper or numbers on a screen.

Crazy, huh?

But the craziest grown-ups are the ones that become parents.

If you think the ideas regular grown-ups come up with are strange, just listen to some of thoughts that come out of the ones who have kids.
From the day they’re born, kids have the weight of their broken parents’ broken dreams weighing down upon them.

Like Skunk’s dad Archie.

Archie’s a stand up fellow and a good family man who’s provided a happy home for his children, even after his wife and their mother upped sticks and did one with her accountant.

The root of which was probably another crazy grown-up idea, like getting married when you’re too young to know who you really are or what you want out of life.

So thank god Archie’s kids seem to be smarter than most of the other grown up folk around them.

Well, at least his daughter Emily is; or Skunk as she’s more affectionately known as.

No idea why her nickname’s Skunk mind and, seeing this is never explained, I guess that goes double for the writers of Broken.

Anyway, Archie has big plans for Skunk and has done ever since she was a nipper.

Just before she was born, Archie had a dream about a hideously beautiful young woman and so it follows that’s who he’s decided Skunk is going to grow up to be.

But things don’t always go to plan in life and when you’re surrounded by as many broken people and families as Skunk and Archie are in their sleepy suburban cul-de-sac, you wouldn’t wager much on a happy ending.

Broken is a strange film to write about, as it doesn’t fit so easily amongst typical cinematic genres, which is a compliment in case you weren’t sure.

The gist of the story adapted from Daniel Clay’s novel of the same name seems to be that everyone’s a little bit broken in some way or another, which is made abundantly clear in the opening scene as an over protective daddy tries to compensate for his poor parenting skills by breaking some other poor boy’s head open.

Oh, the wrongs a man will do for the right girl.

Tim Roth gets back to the big screen as Archie, the pure and doting family man, Cillian Murphy plays a boy in man’s clothing as one of the kids teacher’s Mike but this film’s star is debutant Eloise Laurence as little Skunk.

As broken as so many things around her may be, Skunk doesn’t let them affect her and Laurence manages to capture the easy, carefree innocence of children who’re full of grace seem to have.

Probably because that’s exactly what Laurence still is; a carefree, innocent child.

If there’s a message in Broken, I’d say it’s this; don’t become a grown-up, as they seem to be more messed up than any kid you’ll ever met.

And much as they may try not to, messed up grown-ups only make messed up kids.

Jonathan Campbell

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October 2012
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