In London, the radiologist Gina McVey organizes a surprise birthday party to her father John McVey with her boyfriend Stefan Chambers, her brother Daniel McVey and his girlfriend Kate ...
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In London, the radiologist Gina McVey organizes a surprise birthday party to her father John McVey with her boyfriend Stefan Chambers, her brother Daniel McVey and his girlfriend Kate Coleman. On the next day, she sees herself driving a car on the street and she follows the woman to her apartment, where she finds a picture of her father and her. While driving back, she has a car crash and loses parts of her memory; further, she believes Stefan is another man. Gina decides to investigate what is happening and unravels a dark reality. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The inventive spelling of the title reads somewhat silly in Norwegian and Danish since the Ø in broken is a letter in the alphabet in these languages and sounds like the "u" in "burden". In addition "brøken" is the Norwegian and Danish word meaning "the fraction". See more »
Whenever it shows the car-wreck (and the replays thereof), the "person" in the driver-seat is obviously a dummy. See more »
[opening screen, small text on black]
You have conquered and I yield.
Yet henceforward art thou also dead - dead to the World, to Heaven, and to Hope!
In me didst thou exist - and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself.
Edgar Allan Poe
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If the music played during the first half of the closing credits sounds a bit off, that's because it's being played backwards. See more »
Manages to scare while simultaneously tickling the intellect.
They say that a broken mirror is sure to cast seven years of bad luck (or bad sex, as a character quips early on) to those who break it, and although such a concept is deeply rooted in mystic superstition, there nevertheless remains an eerie, foreboding core to its warning. Perhaps coincidentally however, is the much more tangible, but inherently linked concept of the doppelgänger, who is said to appear either as an omen of sickness or death. Indeed, both share common principles with the mirror even producing doppelgänger's of a metaphysical sense, but both also share the undeniable clause for weariness or suspicion. Of course, in our daily lives, thinking with clear mind-frames and perspectives, such concepts are folly best left to those with padded walls. Yet, brought into the domain of film, there still remains a sense of wonder about them that allow the extra-dimensional nature of the medium to truly shine.
The Broken, which comes from up and coming writer/director Sean Ellis who last year wooed me with the surreal and abstract romance Cashback, not only indulges in these somewhat supernatural concepts tenfold, but does so in ways that the horror movie does so best. Taking a leaf from the genre's forefathers David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock, with just a little nod here and there to the American Romantic macabre writer Edgar Allan Poe, Ellis here crafts a feature which borders on the surreal once more, this time on a much more subversive and subtle level. If you had told me that this young film-maker would go on to make a horror movie the following year after Cashback, I would have laughed it offand yet, I would have had to choke back that laughter after catching a glimpse of what is offered here.
It all takes place in the busy city of London, as a family settles down for a small celebration of the father's birthday and retirement. During a warm, friendly dinner, the conversation is abruptly drawn to a silence when a mirror suddenly crashes down onto the floor, much to the shockand then bemused laughterof those there to witness. From here on in however, the laughter is far and few between from those family members. The Broken dabbles in and out of the idea that behind each of those family members' mirrors, lies an arguable alternate reality, or at least, person (read, doppelgänger), who is given form and begins to walk their own reality as if it was their own. Of course, it's certainly an unsettling idea that someone could infiltrate your own existence and somehow seek to replace you, and you can bet Ellis does well to capitalise on that sense of threat and claustrophobia.
Rather than stoop to genre clichés and derivatives however, Ellis subscribes instead to the roots of the more artistically-driven horror movie focusing largely on atmosphere and suspense with plenty of mystery in tow. By approximation, The Broken can not possibly have had any more than perhaps two or three hundred lines of dialogue inherent to its story, and so the amount of detail then that is pushed upon creating a slow-moving, but very intricate analysis of tone and eerie aesthetic, is potent. The result is a horror movie that doesn't necessarily feel like one that is out to scare you, but rather, unsettle youmake your mind race, and question the reality of what is going on within the characters' minds. Indeed, as opposed to simply delivering cheap "boo" moments, Ellis opts to get behind enemy lines, and scare from within, albeit cerebrally.
What is most interesting about The Broken however -as is usually the case with the best examples the genre has to offer- is not how Ellis manages to unsettle you, but how he gets you thinking. Behind the cold exterior and horror-movie façade of The Broken lays an intriguing allegory that sets about detailing the death of a person, or persons, through self-inflicted means. Be sure that I am not referring to suicide, or anything of a literal, substantial meaning, but purely of a psychological, or metaphysical sense. In the world of The Broken, central character Gina (Lina Headey) is on the verge of committing to a relationship; her father (Richard Jenkins) facing old age and retirementit could be argued that many of the people within The Broken's story are facing the points in their lives where they symbolically end, with said doppelgänger therefore representing that very shift from life to death by their own hands. From this perspective, the ending to the movie attains a very poignant, and clear message.
Whether or not the viewer takes such a message away from what Ellis has to say here however, is beside the point. There still remains plenty of value of The Broken's story with or without the added benefit of subtext or allegorical meaning. The movie does have its fair share of problems most of which reside within the extremely slow-paced second act, which perhaps throws in a few too many indulgent scenes here and there with dubious characterisation; but such flaws are minor in comparison to those that we as audiences are so accustomed to when being treated to the average modern horror fare. Overall, The Broken is nevertheless a fine psychological analysis of ourselves as human beings, and how easy that barrier from sanity to insanity can be broken, with or without the accompanying seven years of misfortune. It's compelling, gripping and actually manages to scare while simultaneously tickling the intellectnow when's the last time a horror movie did that? - A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
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