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Broken Fences
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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A lifetime of bad luck

Author: tdmjdm from Hollywood
16 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A lifetime of bad luck threatens a father and son's reunion, as old wounds resurface and new ones are opened in Broken Fences, Troy McGatlin's fusion of family drama and contemporary western.

Joe Simmons (Jan Van Sickle) is a quiet and simple man who prefers to spend his days alone working on his ranch. He gets up at 5:00 a.m. and makes sure that the horses, cattle, and chickens are fed before he sits down to eat. Joe lives this life of solitude by choice, but we get a hint early on that Joe has cut himself off from the world a little too much. When he goes to the town's only store, he's surprised to find his friend no longer owns the place – and hasn't for quite some time. Joe might be a little bit lonely, but he's found his routine and he likes it just fine.

But Joe's life of peace is unexpectedly disrupted when he gets a phone call from his estranged son Dylan, who informs him that he was recently paroled from jail and is looking for a place to stay. Though it's only hinted at, it's clear that Joe and Dylan have a long tumultuous history, and Joe is originally unwilling to take him in, even temporarily. But Joe's won't let his boy live on the streets, and he soon finds himself outside the jail, collecting his son.

Dylan promises his father that he's a changed man, and it's easy to believe him. He speaks softly, works hard, and the only time he gets a fiery look in his eye is when he fervently tells his father that he'll never go back to prison again. Dylan has a host of skeletons in his closet, but maybe undeservedly so. He's a simple-minded boy who seems to be followed by a host of bad luck. A traumatizing incident in Dylan's teenage years left him emotionally scarred and in the company of a few bad seeds. Dylan was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it ended up costing him 6 years of his life behind bars.

Even though Dylan promises he's turned a new leaf, things are uneasy between the two from the very beginning. They eat in silence, work in silence, and spend time on opposite ends of the ranch. But Joe senses a change in Dylan that he can't deny – maybe his son really has turned his life around. In their first candid moment, Dylan convinces Joe to ask a local shopkeeper out on a date. Things between the two men seem to be getting better, until Dylan's streak of bad luck and bad behavior catches up to him. From there, the story unfolds in unexpected directions until the shocking third act that you won't see coming.

Broken Fences carefully explores this relationship between father and son without resorting to clichés. It never asks the audience an obvious question, only to respond with an even more obvious answer. McGatlin has crafted a fine little film that will engage you and challenge you until the end. And what an end it is.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This film still haunts me

Author: ccegla1 from United States
27 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I happened to stumble upon and rent this fantastic movie about a week ago. I didn't watch the trailer. I only knew what I knew from the DVD box. I am still haunted by it.

From the first scenes I was captivated! This takes place in rural Colorado, and the scenery is breathtaking. The beginning of the movie focuses on a lonely farmer. You are taken into his daily world and you feel like you are there with him. If anything, you must rent this for the scenery.

The story line builds to a shocking conclusion. I won't give anything away, that would spoil it. But I will say that one of the themes is "how come Cowboys don't cry"? Sound familiar?

I am definitely buying this movie for my collection. This is a must-see for any film buff!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

4.2?? It's underrated

Author: trolldown from India
16 December 2008

I've seen people comment that the film is too slow.. but there's no rule in the book which says that a film can't be slow. It's slow because the script is written so.

The movie deals with the character of 'Dillon', a very unlucky son. The story revolves around him and his father.

Also I didn't notice any 'bad acting' in the film. It's a nice movie and I honestly believe that it is underrated. It deserves way more than a 4.2. In fact, the movie is different. The ending is a bit melodramatic but overall it's a good movie.

Just watch it and decide for yourself.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Well done film!

Author: jntwiles from California
12 December 2008

I really enjoyed this film! The cinematography is beautiful... great locations and directing. I hadn't heard of Troy McGatlin before but I would like to see more of his work. The lead character in the film did an amazing job. What a great actor! The location of this film (Maybe Colorado or Montana) is also an important character. I would call the location a character because it plays such an important role to who these people are and why they act the way they do. You really feel like you're there with the characters. Interesting storyline and overall really well done! A lot more to it than originally meets the eye. This film is about father/son relationships, life in a small town, moving on from our past and mending our own "broken fences." I would definitely recommend this film to anyone.

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20 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Bad bad bad, contrived and boring

Author: Maddis from United States
1 October 2008

To sum it up, don't waste your time. Bad acting followed by really bad acting and a swiss cheese plot make this one of the worst efforts at movie making in a long time. Avoid this nonsense if you can, not even worth a free download.

I think they actually used food coloring and water for the effects, and while the picture perfect outdoor setting was there to use, it was just a series of still shots and half done set pieces. Guaranteed whoever played the son cashed in some favors for a role, really horrible. They might as well have thrown in a slow motion "Noooooooo" as he runs with the gun. Shameless.

Gee, wonder who the 5 people who scored this 10/10 were? hmmm. Just so you are aware, when you do that to your movie, it aggravates people into posting a 1 vote. At least be a little honest when scoring, otherwise nature has a way of correcting.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This movie is absolutely hilarious !!

Author: zif ofoz from United States
15 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And that hilarity comes from this ... movie(?) ... being sssooo bad.

Everything about this story is just simpleminded; simpleminded script, simpleminded plot, simpleminded dialog, simpleminded acting, etc. I had to watch because I guess I needed a simpleminded laugh.

Here's the plot - Joe is a simpleminded man trying to earn a simple life on his simple ranch (by the way does 3 or 4 cows and 3 chickens make a ranch?) He knows about 42 simple words. He simply has the hots for Kim who runs the local simple general store/cafe. I think she had about 5 cans of soup and a bag of flower. One day Dylan comes home from jail to help his dad Joe on the simple ranch.

Now Dylan is the epitome of simpleminded! He tell his dad to put the blast on Kim. While dad & Kim are getting drunk at the local bar (she tells Joe she practically lives there!!!) Dylan stays home to protect the ranch from lions and then shoots some dude dead because Dylan didn't like the way the dude spelled FAGG (thats the spelling). Joe & Kim are simply besotted with each other and don't realize that Dylan has a body buried under foot.

The sheriff comes looking for the now dead dude. Dylan doesn't care for the sheriff snooping about so Dylan shoots him too. Now Kim comes out to this simple ranch and discovers the dead sheriff. At that moment Dylan decides to get into a 'rasslin match' with Kim. Kim suddenly finds herself impaled on a giant hay bale hook and simply dies. Joe walks in and grabs his son telling him how much he loves him and then shoots Dylans innards out with his simple handgun. Joe goes to his simple log house, puts on a country record, sits down and I guess he just wants to think about and enjoy his simple life.

The end !

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An excellent piece of work. A great western drama to be watch by every film lover.

Author: edris_ne from Canada
3 February 2009

Broken Fences is one of those unique films that reminds us of some good old western films that are hardly made these days. It's a complete film that carries and holds all the ethics of film-making. Ian Van Sickle's amazing performance has added a different kind of flavor to the film. Likewise, Ryan I Parker's innocent acting craft has given the film an additional star. I loved this film and I not loved it for the reason that I'm a great film lover but mostly for the reason that it made me feel confident that good cinema and good filmmakers are still alive. Troy McGatlin must bring more films. Good cinema needs such filmmakers. The film is a winner and is worth watching, only if you are a lover of good films.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Gets my Number One vote for worst movie ever

Author: TarHeel78 from United States
5 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where to begin? The last few reviewers pretty much covered it - contrived plot, undeveloped characters, extremely poor acting (maybe it was due to the poor writing and directing), and the most unbelievable ending I have seen in a long time. Did the dad really sit down to listen to Linda Ronstadt after all the killing that had just taken place? Really??? Was this supposed to be a horror movie? Someone could have taken the basic premise - troubled kid getting out of prison to try and make a new life with dad out on the range learning to deal with adversity and making good decisions and so forth - but Mr. McGatlin was not the one to get it right. I noticed that most of the actors have not done much in the three years since this movie came out. Talk about a career killer...

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Busted!! Don't believe the glowing reviews.

Author: kuno-5 from Canada
22 February 2009

This movie is as tedious as they get with a weak story line, wooden acting, one cliché after another and an embarrassingly contrived ending. Don't waste your time - you will be disappointed.

As the story opened I quickly got the feeling that things in this place move along at a glacial pace and everyone speaks in stereotyped cowboy English. I can't believe there is still a script writer in America who would make a character say "Howdy sheriff". It goes downhill from there.

I really can't understand how this film is getting any glowing reviews. Maybe they are all relatives of the director or investors in the film. It really is the only possible explanation.

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21 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Excellent acting and cinematography!

Author: bizzinc from United States
24 July 2008

This film is a beautifully shot and acted drama. Set in the Colorado mountains, it is a powerful piece with exceptional acting by Jan Van Sickle. The story grabs you from the beginning to it's shocking conclusion. Breathtaking cinematography. Highly recommended! The story involved a rancher named Joe who let's his recently paroled son, Dillon, moved back in with him. Dillon seems to have turned his life around, which is good news to his dad who has just started a relationship with the local convenience store owner, Kim (excellently played by Earla Stewart). As the story unfolds, we learn that Dillon's bad luck seems to have followed him home. Dillon is played by Ryan J. Parker in a star making turn. Mr. Parker displays moments of sheer brilliance as his character faces unbearable choices. The film is currently making it's rounds in the film festival circuit, winning multiple awards along the way. Try to see it!

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