Director: Allen Hughes.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Natalie Martinez, Alona Tal.
Running Time: 109 minutes.
Synopsis: Disgraced New York cop turned private investigator, Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg), is hired by the city’s mayor (Russell Crowe) to spy on his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), only to discover a troubling conspiracy.
On the back of directing several successful films (FROM HELL, THE BOOK OF ELI) with his brother Albert, Allen Hughes’ first solo effort was always going to face inevitable comparisons to previous outings. On first look, a cast that boasts Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones has you wondering what could possibly go wrong. Quite a lot of things, actually, it turns out. BROKEN CITY is not a bad film, but it is predictable and adds nothing to the tired genre of political thriller. Hughes has quite an astonishing cast at his disposal, but no character feels developed or deserving of sympathy by the film’s end.
Beginning with New York cop Taggart in court for shooting a rapist murderer, BROKEN CITY jumps seven years into the future, with Taggart now a private investigator leading a quiet life with his aspiring actress girlfriend (Natalie Martinez). With money woes building, enter New York mayor Nicholas Hostetler, who hires Taggart for one big pay day.
Up until this point, the film certainly has promise, but several important subplots prove too much as the convoluted script struggles to tackle each story with the same respect. Billy’s relationship with his girlfriend is granted only a couple of minutes every so often, while the Mayor’s decision to sell a New York housing project is mentioned in passing on occasion, which is hardly enough seeing as it is one of the most important elements in the film’s conclusion.
The one positive of the film is the performance of wannabe mayor, Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper), who provides a fantastic performance that deserves the plaudits in an otherwise forgettable film. If you have two hours to spare and are not looking for anything emotionally or mentally stimulating, then BROKEN CITY should be top of your list. This BROKEN CITY is certainly in need of some fixing.
BROKEN CITY opens in UK cinemas on March 1st.