Broken City Review

Can you ever escape that debt from your past?

I doubt I will, and Mark Wahlberg’s Billy Taggart definitely can’t in Allen Hughes’ Broken City.

As you might expect with a name like this, Taggart is a cop and a good one at that; only problem being he did a dirty thing for all the right reasons and now some people who don’t agree with such utilitarian thinking want justice to be served upon him.

Fortunately for Taggart, he’s got friends in some rather high places who make sure the incriminating evidence against him never sees the light of day.

Of course, there’s a price to pay for such a favour; namely the end of Taggart’s career as a New York City cop.

Fast forward seven years and Taggart’s now a private dick, taking dirty photos of dirty men to make ends meet.

It’s not a great living, but it’s enough to get by; and seeing as he’s got the smoking hot Natalie to keep him company, our hero’s glass is more than half full.

So when Taggart’s high powered friend from the past comes calling with a job that seems too good to be true, you get an inkling there’ll be a price to pay for such generosity.

Broken City is a well put together yet by numbers yarn about what happens when power, corruption and greed combine to create a perfect storm.

And the way things are today, Broken City should feel more relevant than ever.

Wahlberg heads a strong ensemble cast as the earnest and sort of honest ex-cop Billy Taggart, a man who’d rather talk with his fists that gets caught up in something he can’t punch his way out of.

Russell Crowe adds some gravitas in his role as New York Mayor Nicholas Hostetler, a privileged man who’s become entrenched in power for too long and acquired all the baggage this brings with it.

Catherine Zeta Jones is the Mayor’s less than devoted wife Cathleen, Jeffrey Wright plays a suited and booted cop while Natalie Martinez gives meaning to Taggart’s rudderless life as his wife to be Natalie.

Broken City’s a pretty gripping story that’ll keep you hooked as events play out against the smoky, neon lit background of Manhattan’s evocative skyline; and yet, when everything’s been said and done, it’s not a tale that’ll live with you for long.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially compared to many other bloated, big budget and overhyped films Hollywood forces upon us.

In fact, I found the disposable nature of Broken City a little refreshing, which probably means I’ve watched too many films of late.

Still, compared to some other debts from my past, this is hardly a burden.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

February 2013