Broken City (2013) Directed by Allen Hughes. Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones. IMDB says: “In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.”
Broken City could have been a really solid movie, but there is too much going on for the film to breathe and stand on its own. Entire subplots could have been removed and the film would have functioned just fine. Some characters dialogue was pure exposition and without them, I’m sure the film would have still made sense. The film tries to come across as a noir-type thriller where Billy (Mark Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor (Russell Crowe) to investigate his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to see who she’s been sleeping with behind the mayor’s back. That alone is a solid premise; as long as you make it intriguing. Broken City throws that, a mayoral election race, an old murder case, a housing deal, a girlfriends new film, family dysfunction, and Mark Wahlberg taking a bath, all into a blender and serves it to you room temperature without a decorative umbrella. The film can’t decide what’s more important at times and because of that, it falls flat. There are a few throw away jokes that are worth some chuckles, and the action (when it decides to show up) is too little too late for a film that has a rough time holding your interest. It’s not the actor’s fault, in fact, the cast is really good: Crowe, Wahlberg, Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Ziggy from The Wire, Alona Tal, and Jeffery Wright, all give solid performances, but the writing and the story isn’t strong enough.
It would have been neat if they captured the film in a noir style with Wahlberg narrating the story as he slowly finds out he’s stumbling on to something much bigger than infidelity. Maybe some black and white film stock, have it take place in the 70s, maybe 80s, let Atticus Finch and Trent Reznor do the score, and you’d have yourself a movie! But alas, we don’t get that. Despite it’s flaws, it’s worth a rental when it comes out.
FTS SCORE: 68%