Broken City (2013)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


Broken City (2013) Poster

In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.

TIP
Add this title to your Watchlist
Save movies and shows to keep track of what you want to watch.

6.2/10
71,757

Videos


Photos

  • Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg in Broken City (2013)
  • Russell Crowe and Allen Hughes in Broken City (2013)
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones at an event for Broken City (2013)
  • Mark Wahlberg at an event for Broken City (2013)
  • Mark Wahlberg and Allen Hughes in Broken City (2013)
  • Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg in Broken City (2013)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Awards

1 win.

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


19 January 2013 | Movie_Muse_Reviews
4
| Top talents only take 'Broken City' so far
The quality of a corruption-themed political thriller with a star-studded cast always comes down to one thing — the script. Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler and Jeffrey Wright definitely qualify "Broken City" for that category of film, and so all eyes are on rookie screenwriter Brian Tucker.

Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) is a New York City police detective acquitted of killing a man who got off on a rape and murder charge. The mayor (Crowe) and commissioner (Wright) know a bit more, however, and require Taggart to step down. Seven years later, Taggart is a private investigator owed a lot of money that he hasn't seen, so when the mayor comes calling weeks before election day and asks him to find out who his wife is sleeping with, he quickly agrees. But when he completes the job he finds he's been double-crossed and set up as an accomplice to murder.

The plot is most definitely neo-noir, but the direction of Allen Hughes (one half of the Hughes brothers, the duo behind "The Book of Eli" and "From Hell") provides it with none of that style or class. But visual flare becomes irrelevant when your audience is too preoccupied with making sense of a convoluted plot.

Tucker weaves an intriguing network of deception that keeps you from trusting any character in the movie, including even Taggart, but there are too many pieces, including barely introduced characters, that comprise the hidden truth in the story. Consequently, the film relies on heavy- handed dialogue and formula way more often that it should. Tucker tries to make it so every component of the film connects in some way, yet to do so he falls back on clichés.

A lot of the dialogue is also steered toward set-ups for sharp one-liners. These veteran actors know how to work lines of this contrived nature, but because the rest of this film doesn't do its job, these quotes elicit chuckles more than satisfied smirks.

Of all the talents, Crowe gives the film's best performance as the shadowy Nick Hostetler, who despite preferring to keep his own hands clean, comes off as though at any moment he might roll his sleeves up and punish someone. Considering the trailer casts him as the bad guy, it's impressive that you'll like him for as much of the run time as you do.

The script attempts to paint Taggart as a complex main character of moral ambiguity, but he just sort of drifts in and out of likability instead. Few actors do the "man on a mission" better than Wahlberg does, but Taggart is saddled with a penchant for violence that crops up sporadically and he's also a recovering alcoholic. And that's in addition to his past transgressions.

The conflict plays over a mayoral race between Hostetler and Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper), which gets a lot of play despite factoring minimally into the main narrative. It's part of the many cogs necessary to make the plot function, but it mostly results in the spouting of political rhetoric that just makes the story all the murkier.

"Broken City" works reasonably well in individual pieces and scenes, but as part of the master plan, they're drawn together almost haphazardly, with some crucial details cutting across the screen in the blink of an eye. Even so, the resolution all comes down to some really simple and even cliché plot devices. There are no late twists or revelations that really turn the tide; the biggest one gets nullified almost instantly.

Any film can flash some big names and load up on reputable faces, but in this genre, script is king. Hughes is practically invisible as a director, so Tucker's work is exposed all the more. Some strong acting really bolsters the film's strengths, but it only goes as high as the structure it's built upon, and that structure has enough kinks that "Broken City" only delivers marginal satisfaction.

~Steven C

Thanks for reading! Visit moviemusereviews.com

Metacritic Reviews


Critic Reviews



Why Robert De Niro Had a Huge Impact on Carla Gugino

We find out more about the "Jett" star's 100-credit career, including her favorite scene to shoot, and what it was like acting alongside a legend like Robert De Niro.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

See what TV shows editors are excited about this month and check out our guide to Star Wars, video games, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com