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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Seeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the sweltering capital's bustling... See full summary »
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 »
[Kate and Gina are kneeling down to sweep up the large mirror that suddenly broke during dinner while the men of the family stand by and watch them]
[Quietly to Gina]
I guess that's seven years back luck then.
I thought it was seven years bad sex.
No, I've already had that.
Oi, I heard that.
[smiling up at her husband]
Baby, that was before I met you.
[...] See more »
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 »
I have yet to write a review on Sean Ellis' debut, Cashback, because it left such a strong impression on me. I consider it one of the rare 10/10 movies I have had the joy to experience and so it was with trepidation that I awaited his next one. I would lie if I said it met my lofty expectations but it turns out to be better than it is credited for. The premise is simple. Radiologist Gina MvVey believes she sees herself, someone exactly like her, driving her car on a street. From that point on, the movie is a slow-paced but suspenseful journey to find out what is going on.
There are very few jump-out-of-your-seats attempts in the movie and we are far from MTV-style editing and pacing here. The dialogs are equally restrained. A lot in this movie is implicit, from the various characters and relationships to the story unfolding. The performances here are solid but discreet. Nobody is going to wow you but you do believe those actors. Ellis may not be the best director when it comes to guiding his actors but as far as building mood and capturing great moments, he is one of the better of his generation. The Broken has a lot of static shots and slow camera work that tells a lot more than the script could, some credit goes to Angus Hudson, who had worked with Ellis on Cashback as well. A few of the shots are extremely memorable and haunting. Composer Guy Farley, who was responsible for the amazing music in Ellis' previous movie is also back. This time, the music's role is a lot more subdued but he contributes here and there and especially to the final scene.
Most negative comments I have read seem to concern the derivative nature of the story. The Broken does indeed explore a theme that has been visited before, because it is a frightening proposition. It is in fact a primal fear of human beings. That the idea has been touched upon before is thus only natural. The treatment of the idea is also a bit derivative, I must confess. That is something I am less willing to forgive and thus I subtracted one from my final score. The film has also been criticized for the lack of an explanation. This is something I completely disagree for, for many reasons. Firstly, everything you need to know about The Broken is clearly laid out. In fact, the "twist" at the end is rather predictable and even hinted at early in the movie. To have a strong denouement doesn't mean to solve the puzzles but instead to build a great ride and an ending with impact. Why or how this particular phenomenon is happening is totally irrelevant and the lack of a 3rd arc where we are bombarded with some kind of mystical Mumbo Jumbo is not only refreshing but prevents the movie from being ruined like so many movies with supernatural/mystery overtones. We know exactly what is going on with this movie, we just don't know why. Audiences have been spoon-fed some "whys" for so long on their movies that it seems some just can't live without it.
Where I have had a bit of a problem is with the director not exploring secondary characters as much as I hoped for. I sense some missed opportunities there. Clearly, Ellis was more concerned with the journey of Gina McVey and quickly set up the ensemble around her to move on with the plot but I can't help but feel this prevents the last arc from being as strong as it could have been. The last scene with her and her father, the last scene with her and her brother... those could probably have turned out better with some fleshing out of the story. There are also a few moments I felt were a bit awkward. Such as a scene where Gina tries to recover a photograph in the subway, which just doesn't feel right from a storytelling point of view.
But those are nitpicks. I have greatly enjoyed The Broken. It is suspenseful and beautiful. I demand a lot from the director of Cashback, which I consider a gem. I feel Ellis has not let me down, even though I suspect it could have been even better. This isn't a slasher movie or teen horror. It doesn't follow the growing trend of injecting humor, irony and self-derision in horror movies either. In fact, it may not even be considered a horror movie by today's standards. In tone and pacing, it is more similar to a Shyamalan or a Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie. It has a strong, haunting, primal thematic and it lets us dwell on it for the whole 90 minutes.
And it contains enough memorable scenes for us to be permeated by its mood and dwell on it long after the credits have rolled.
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