Winner of the top prize at the British Independent Film Awards, Broken takes place in a London cul-de-sac where an act of violence sends ripples through the three families who live there. The story is told through the eyes of a young girl called (for some reason) Skunk. In the opening scene she comes home to witness the disturbed adult son of the couple from across the way being savagely beaten by Mr. Oswald, her neighbor and father to three foul-mouthed daughters. It becomes apparent that the attack was provoked when one of the daughters invented a story about Rick to keep from getting into trouble with her father. As accusations fly between the two families, Skunk’s father, a soft-spoken solicitor, tries to mediate for both sides. The heavier themes dealt with here are nicely offset by lighter, almost comedic moments as we watch Skunk deal with the trials of growing up without a mother, start high-school and receive her first kiss. As Skunk, newcomer Eloise Laurence is a revelation. She is completely believable and never precocious. And it’s nice to see Tim Roth in a softer role after so many British films have cast him as a hard man or thug. Unfortunately, because the film is based on a novel with a timeframe much larger than the scope of the film, the ending, where all three families’ stories come to head on the same night, feels a little contrived and overdramatic. But if you’re able to suspend your disbelief just a little, this is a striking and powerful film.
1hr 31mins long
R16 Contains iolence,offensive language,sex scenes and content that may disturb