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Broken More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A gripping social drama and a depressing situation report with a brilliant performance of Eloise Laurence

Author: Peter Pluymers ( from Kortessem, Belgium
10 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't be scared. I just want your goodness.

"Broken". I'm not sure yet what covers this title. Is it the broken relationships and mutual relations between the families living in this cul-de-sac. Is it about the fragile health of Skunk or the fragile state of mind of Rick. Or is it about the few broken noses that the hotheaded neighbor Bob hands out. From the first minute in this sad story, I was taken on a trip through several petty depressive states. Yes, you won't have "happy" feelings after watching this movie. However, the end is a godsend and a gorgeous display of hope.

Every household has his cross to bear. In this dead end street they had end-of-season sales of heavy crosses. Let us hope that this is not a matter of course in most districts. First there's Skunk, whose mother left for some accountant, and her family. She lives with her ​​father Archie (Superb acting by Tim Roth),her brother and their housekeeper under one roof . The housekeeper has an on-off relationship with a teacher who is full of doubts about the future of their relationship. Skunk also has diabetes that she follows meticulously. Opposite lives the Buckley family. An older couple with the mentally disabled son Rick. A friendly guy who, as you'll notice later, has a dark incalculable side. And then there is the aggressive and violent Mr. Oswald and his three teenage daughters. Bob Oswald's wife is deceased and the education of his three daughters is his greatest concern . However the morbid concern about the welfare of his daughters is the cause of the improper conduct of the 3 annoying buggers.

Essentially, these three families have nothing in common and they show no affinity for each other (except Skunk vs. Rick), and yet their life paths will be intertwined in a drastic way which will lead to the resulting conflicts. The whole situation escalates because of one simple lie. A lie to cover up the truth and to prevent facing some measures. A lie that has disastrous consequences and brings the relationships even more to falter. Skunk her cheerful and carefree life collapses after witnessing an aggressive assault on the introvert and unworldly Rick. It's the beginning of a spiral of sequential disturbing events.

"Broken" is a gripping social drama and a depressing situation report. This shows once again that British dramas can be of a high level. The debut of Eloise Laurence as the vulnerable Skunk doesn't go unnoticed. A beautiful rendition that testifies a youthful spontaneity and empathy. The range of emotions that she has to show is not obvious , and yet she knows how to interpret it. I 'm not easily impressed by certain actors , but this was a brilliant performance .

Tim Roth is a respected actor and known from the TV series "Lie to Me". However, I'm not a avid fan of TV shows . But his appearances in "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs" are well known to me. Roth has a kind of soothing, calm charisma. Sometimes he reminds me of a light version of James Bond with identical expressions like Steve Carell. That confident look and cool probing observation. An icy dispassionate attitude until that moment at the hospital sitting next to Skunk's bed and telling his dream again in an emotional way. Masterfully portrayed.

I couldn't really find any faults when it's about the rest of the cast. Beautiful renditions piece by piece. The three pubescent teenage girls were playing in such a convincing way that you would consider to step up to those three brutal little twerps and put them in their place. Robert Emms should also be mentioned for his irresistible and not obvious rendition of Rick, the mentally handicapped neighbor. The impressive pity arousing beginning, the tormented and helpless attitude during his psychiatric confinement and the destructive frenzy at the end. All these aspects are brilliantly handled by him.

Filmic it also looks worked out nicely by Rufus Norris. The sometimes straightforward images with that typical British tone and style that you can find in acclaimed British series like "EastEnders". The recurring flashbacks and dreamlike visions of the future are mixed with the daily harsh reality. Ultimately, the core of the film is scarier than any slasher or horror film. An impressive social story with a theatrical and, thank goodness, a positive ending.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Very Moving and Poignant from the eyes of a 11 year old

Author: Ajit Tiwari from India
30 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An incredibly well acted drama with a lot of warmth and heart. "Broken" is a British realism at its best, it has been crafted so well and with such sensitivity that the audience cannot help but be touched.

The 11-year-old Skunk (Eloise Laurence) lives in a seemingly normal neighborhood in a British suburb. A mentally retarded teenager Rick (Robert Emms), lives with his parents in the neighborhood. Also nearby lives, a short-tempered widowed father, Mr. Oswald (Rory Kinnear) with his three daughters. Skunk lives with her father Archie (Tim Roth) and her brother Jed (Bill Milner) and housekeeper Kasia (Zana Marjanovic) – her mother ran off years ago with another man. Everything is as usual, until one day at the beginning of summer vacation: the eldest daughter of Oswald's alleged that Rick they she has been raped by him. Mr. Oswald beats defenseless Rick viciously. The story is based around documents, but above all their consequences. Parallelly narrated the various family fates with Skunk as a kind of common thread among them, and what was behind the attack and the implications, then get up slowly unraveling.

The acclaimed theater director Rufus Norris makes his film debut with "Broken" and that he does! He has an amazing eye for detail which is emphasized by the camera revealing close-ups which incidentally in Rob Hardy's hands all the way he does a great job. The cinematography is warm, almost shimmering but goes even so believable together with the barren suburbs and the environment in which the film is set. It is also incredibly edited. Amid the touching and poignant story, it gets spectators to keep the spirit of anticipation.

Towards the end it unfortunately becomes somewhat of a hurry, there is much that has a place and everything should not the space it deserves. I would have liked to rise against and also the culmination itself had to take more time, and indeed the film had at all with the benefit could be half an hour longer.

"Broken" is an absolutely amazing experience with great music and superb actors , from the brilliant young débutant Eloise Laurence (Skunk) to the more experienced Tim Roth (Daddy) and Cillian Murphy (teacher Mike) everyone does a phenomenal work with such precise and small means and it feels more than visible.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"Eloquently romantic, invariably engaging and virtuous indie..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
29 April 2013

English theatre and film director Rufus Norris' feature film debut which was written by Irish screenwriter and playwright Mark O'Rowe, is an adaptation of a novel from 2008 by author Daniel Clay. It premiered in the Special Screenings section of the International Critics' Week at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in England and is a United Kingdom production which was produced by producers Bill Kenwright, Tally Garner, Dixie Linder and Nick Marston. It tells the story about a girl named Skunk Cunningham who lives with her brother named Jed, their father named Archie who is a solicitor and their Polish nanny named Kasia. A father named Bob Oswald who lives with his three daughters named Saskia, Susan and Sunrise, a man named Rick Buckley who lives with his parents named Janet and Dave and Kasia's boyfriend named Mike Kiernan who is a teacher.

Distinctly and subtly directed by English filmmaker Rufus Norris, this finely tuned fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character's point of view, draws an incisive and intriguing portrayal of an 11-year-old schoolchild with diabetes and her relationship with her father, her brother, her teacher, a neighbour and a boy named Dillon. While notable for its naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, sterling production design by English production designer and art director Kave Quinn, cinematography by British cinematographer Rob Hardy and use of colors and light, this narrative-driven story about the rites of passage, false accusations, physical assault, bullying, friendship and mental illness depicts several heartfelt and heartrending studies of character and contains a great score by music supervision company Electric Wave Bureau.

This dramatic, conscientious, sociological and affectionate character piece which is set mostly in a neighbourhood in England and where an array of happenings brings the lives of three English families together, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented and brilliant narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, interrelated stories, colorful and contrasting characters and memorable acting performances by actress Eloise Laurence in her debut feature film role, English actor and director Tim Roth, Irish actor Cillian Murphy, English actor Rory Kinnear, English actor Robert Emms, Bosnian actress Zana Marjanovic, actress Martha Bryant and actor George Sargeant. An eloquently romantic, invariably engaging and virtuous indie which gained the award for Best British Independent Film at the 15th British Independent Film Awards in 2012.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic, must watch.

Author: Desmond Edwards from United Kingdom
10 September 2017

Just finished watching Broken and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Fantastic cast from top to bottom and the story had me gripped from the off.

If it isn't on your list of productions to watch then add it!! Well done and 10 out of 10 to all involved.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Broken: Past Particle Of Break.

Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
15 January 2017

Broken is directed by Rufus Norris and adapted to screenplay by Mark O'Rowe from Daniel Clay's novel. It stars Tim Roth, Eloise Laurence, Robert Emms, Rory Kinnear, Faye Daveney and Cillian Murphy. Music is by Electric Wave Bureau and cinematography by Rob Hardy.

Theatre and Opera director Rufus Norris turns his hand to feature film, choosing for his debut a cunning amalgamation of British miserabilism and knowing humour. Story is based in North London and primarily centres on a young girl affectionately known as Skunk! She witnesses a sickening act of violence in the cul de sac where she lives, from here the lives of the residents unfold in a number of identifiable ways.

Thematically there's much going on, such observations on life's dilemmas from both a child and parenting point of view are superbly played out by the cast. It would have been easy for the makers to lean too heavy on the melodrama, or perform as if it's a headline torn straight from one of Britain's sensation yearning tabloids, but it's played with earthy realism, helped no end by the fulcrum setting of a residential cul de sac that on the surface looks normal, so therefore believable. But of course what lies behind a neighbour's door is rarely all glint and gold.

The concurrent theme of violence, illness, heartbreak, grief, so basically life's strife's, gnaws away at the senses, but this is delicately balanced with much love and charm also on show, be it devotion to one's children, or the innocence of youth - puppy love/whimsy/ignorance/inquisitive leanings et al - this picture jabs at the heart in more ways than one. Norris and his team also have a nifty style of filming and scoring, very much putting us in the various frames of this story.

It all builds to what in truth is a very crammed last quarter of film, because if ever there was a case for a much longer running time then this is a classic example. But it's just a niggle, and not enough to derail what is a moving, funny and crafty slice of Britannia. Yes! Even if the daring ending has proved divisive. 9/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Amazingly heartfelt and riveting to watch!

Author: Chris Smith (RockPortReview) from United States
6 April 2015

The British independent film "Broken" broke through in the UK in 2012 with a quite a splash, winning a number of awards. The film however has sort of flown under the radar as it wasn't released in the US until last Summer by Film Movement. Its the dramatic coming of age story of an 11 year old girl affectionately named Skunk. She is played by first time actor Eloise Laurence, who gives a remarkably real and thoughtful performance. This is also the first feature film for director Rufus Norris.

Skunk lives within a cul-de-sac in suburban London with her Dad Archie, played by Tim Roth, and older brother Jed. Her mother ran off with another man years back. They have a live in nanny, Kasia, who serves as a sort of mother or big sister figure. Cillian Murphy also puts forth a strong performance as Mike, Kasia's boyfriend and Skunk's crush. The stories of the three families within the cul-de-sac are all compelling and well integrated into Skunk's world. We open with Skunk talking to Rick, an older friend but mentally unstable neighbor, who out of nowhere get a savage beating from Mr. Oswald, the fiery father of a trio of foul mouthed daughters who are also without a mother.

Adding to the many difficulties of adolescence, Skunk also has diabetes. She could be bitter and angry about her situation, but is very resilient and strong. She is adventurous, inquisitive and full of wonder, where as the girls next door are petty, vile, and just plain unpleasant. The two families are dealing with similar issue in very different ways. While the third family, Rick's Family, tries to keep to themselves and protect there son from the world. Rick is a volatile man child. He has a gentle and sweet exterior that fights with his inner rage and turmoil. After becoming to much of a handful for his parents to deal with he is put up in a hospital. Skunk see the good in him, the longing to be normal and accepted.

The final 30 minutes will keep you on the edge of your seat with a an intensity that is hard to find. I know that sound a little clichéd, but the filmmakers took such care in developing the story and building its characters that the ending just works on every level. You won't be disappointed.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

11-yr-old English girl forced to grow up quickly.

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
16 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found this movie on Netflix streaming movies online. With such seasoned actors as Tim Roth and a few others it seemed like a favorable risk. Overall I am glad I took the time. It is an ugly story in many parts, with several instances of bullying and beatings. But the young actress who stars as 11-yr-old "Skunk" is delightful, and I found out later, quite a good singer and song-writer.

The primary setting is a cul-de-sac community in a middle class area of England. The neighbors live relatively close together and everyone seems to know everything that is going on.

One resident is Tim Roth as Archie, a lawyer and a very nice man. His wife has run away and left him with a son and daughter. He has hired a lady to stay there and be the surrogate mom.

The daughter is Eloise Laurence as Skunk. She and dad have a good relationship, but she is also the adventuresome sort. She finds an abandoned caravan out back and turns it into her playhouse.

Another family in the cul-de-sac has a son, Robert Emms as Rick, seemingly nice but clearly with some deep emotional issues. Another nearby family have 3 daughters who are bullies, and every time they see Rick they openly tease him and agitate him badly, even in front of the parents. They also bully kids at school, including Skunk, to get their lunch money.

The story gets a bit complex, there is teenage sex, false accusations, a hot-head father who beats people up and asks questions later. Through all this Skunk is trying to make sense of life and happiness. She manages, just barely. Good story and very tense at the end.

SPOILERS: Skunk is a type 1 diabetic, has to monitor her blood sugar, and occasionally receive an insulin injection. One evening she goes to visit Rick, recently home from a stay in a hospital, and no one knows where she is. She begins going into a diabetic coma, dad finds her just in time, it is touch-N-go in the hospital, we even see a near death scene from her mind's eye, but then she "sees" dad and comes out of it, she goes on to live.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Frustratingly Unrealistic, Ultimately Disappointing

Author: Stuart Davies from Ireland
2 August 2013

Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy and Denis Lawson, what great actors so surely this must be worth the risk? Yes, the acting was great, even down to the youngest was without fault. Each character was well crafted and easily believable. Their scene interactions had energy and at times where touching and poignant. In retrospect this film could have been in the same class as "A Taste of Honey" and certainly had the potential.

The direction seemed to me to be trying too hard with the clever overlapping scenes and out of context spoiler clips, but this didn't detract too much from the experience and I'll concede it did add some value in terms of visual style.

The most frustrating aspect of the movie was the story which just didn't stick to reality in terms of how people would behave in the situations depicted. It appeared to be done this way to make the plot lines link together properly. What resulted was basically the sort of lazy writing seen in teen horror or thriller movies that makes you think "that wouldn't happen" or "you wouldn't do that". After a while it got so tiresome I lost interest in the characters, was just about to turn it off, but then the film ended...

With all it had going for it, I really wanted to like this film. Afterwards I felt very on edge, like I'd had too much coffee. I thought perhaps I had misunderstood something or needed to let the film sink in before evaluating it. Then I realised what it was. I hated it!

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Starts well, keeps you on edge, finishes with a blast.

Author: paul jones from Ireland
11 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have just returned home from the cinema. The lead actress in this movie is brilliant and there is a strong supporting cast. The film starts well and gradually builds a menacing undercurrent, reflected in unhappy adults, feral children and open season bullying of the weak, redeemed by a radiant female character. Unfortunately, I thought the central story regarding the character with learning difficulties lacked insight. The conclusion to this storyline was very melodramatic. By the end I thought it was about to veer into horror movie territory or at least flirt with it. The bloody finale seemed to jar with the rest of the film and was unrealistic. The tone of the film throughout was pretty unrelentingly grim. I have to say the acting performances particularly by the children are fantastic, and the movie is worth a visit on this basis. It reminded me slightly of Lore which I think is a much superior film. (By the way, are there no happy adults left in Britain?)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Scout wakes up on the wrong side of the ocean.

Author: bluepony29 from United States
13 January 2015

Is the girl Skunk or Scout? Is her brother Jed or Jem? How about the lawyer dad? Is he Archie or Atticus? And the Cunningham name rings a bell. And so on. Anyway, I am too familiar with To Kill a Mockingbird and I just kept seeing Scout in a terrible awful nightmare. But the acting was very good and the institution for kids who need mental and physical treatment is awfully disturbing just like in real life. And I'm not talking about the place where the car washer is sent to look out the window. The ending was very moving. I thought it was done really well. It was very beautiful. Sometimes I wonder just how English I really am. I speak the language but yet I speak with an accent. Can you tell? No, because I am only speaking in my head. And the words are I guess just broken English because my mind feels broken and my heart feels broken too. And if I could I'd find a way to leave this street behind and fly like a little bird. My eye is on the sparrow and not upon the junk yard culture that surrounds me.

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