(IV) (2012)

Critic Reviews



Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
It's the rare coming-of-age narrative that manages to respect the tricky ambiguities of shifting perceptions.
New York Magazine (Vulture)
Rufus Norris's debut film, Broken, is a fractured, tonally scrambled British coming-of-age movie with flashes of greatness and an intensely felt performance by a young actress named Eloise Laurence.
Broken may someday be remembered only as a minor footnote in Norris' career, but it's already a career worth following.
An absorbing coming-of-age drama that suddenly, pointlessly self-destructs with an onslaught of cheap ironies and overkill.
Believably charts a girl's coming of age but is eventually capsized by lurid melodrama.
There are simply too many characters jostling for attention and too many competing plot strands in a not-quite-seamless marriage of hard-edged social realism with a lyrical novelistic overlay. That said, the film is rich in poignant moments and negotiates its frequent shifts from violence to gentleness to sorrow with sensitivity.
If its script is a little unwieldy and overwrought at times, Broken is still a work of delightful moments and strong promise for many of those involved. Norris works hard to inject some joy and wonder into what could easily be a much more dark and miserable experience.
The first feature from British theater director Rufus Norris deftly mixes gritty realism and lyrical impressionism, though its five-car pileup of a climax ultimately makes the film feel less a Greek tragedy than a miniseries in miniature.
There's little doubt that the obvious parallels between this dark coming-of-age drama and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are deliberate. But while they are undeniably overreaching, director Rufus Norris has adapted Daniel Clay's young adult novel with a sensitivity that will appeal to teens and adults alike.
Norris' film does find a beating heart, if not exactly a focus, in the tender father-daughter relationship between Archie and Skunk, nicely underplayed by Roth and Laurence.
Unfortunately, Broken lives up to its mawkish title, and the slice-of-life tragedies of the film's first half devolve into manipulative melodrama in the latter part. When society breaks, the spell does, too.
A couple of heavyweight actors - Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy - get top billing, but this British drama belongs to young Eloise Laurence, memorable as Skunk, the diabetic daughter of Roth's kindly solicitor.
There are some good ideas, strong moments and a blue-chip cast in Broken, the feature-film debut from award-winning theatre and opera director Rufus Norris. But they somehow don't come together successfully.
Norris and his director of photography Rob Hardy have shot it with stylish confidence, but Mark O'Rowe's script (adapted from Daniel Clay's novel) feels cramped and over-schematic.
Awkward music cues and choppy camera work add baggage to a film so overwrought that its excesses seem more unintentionally silly than bleakly disturbing.

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