Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Broken City

Allen Hughes is one half of the well known Hughes Brothers who created "Book of Eli" (2010), "Dead Presidents" (1995) and "Meance II Society" (1993).  Working with first time writer Brian Tucker, is the crime thriller "Broken City" that is one part crime noir and another part political thriller in the city that never sleeps, New York is full of activity and noise.

The film opens with officer Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) breathing heavily and lost in the moment of a shooting incident.   He is cleared of all charges and is informed by Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) that there is evidence that if it became public knowledge they would all be fucked and it is important that that remain unfucked.  Fast forward seven years and Billy Taggart is a private eye who is hired by Mayor Hostetler to investigate his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) the week leading up to the election.  The Mayor thinks that his wife is having an affair with the campaign manager (Kyle Chandler) of his rival Jack Valiant (Barry Pepper).

Allen Hughes works well with the film noir style using various camera angles and plays with the depth in every scene.  The writing however is very heavy handed employing too much schtick and the name choices are very laughable.  The mayoral candidate that opposes the corrupt incumbent is Jack Valiant, but there isn't much that is likeable in the weak character that may or may not be gay.  Additionally, the police commissioner being named Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright) and working for what is right in a corrupt city is worthy of an eye roll along with a competing private investigator being named Dick Mudock as a play on the common nickname for a PI. 

However, back to the script that had a decent story to work with.  It keeps you interested, but has some holes in it that are quite simply ignored.  Billy Taggart is completely drunk at an after party for his girlfriends film debut, which was a side story that never has a resolution, but then receives a phone call and reports to a crime scene where he is now completely sober.  There was also a hole in exactly what the relationship between Billy and his assistant Katy (Alona Tal) have, which in the end you are expecting them to kiss, but will they. 

The film is fast moving and suspenseful, but with the quality of other films currently in the theaters it isn't high on my list of current recommendations.  If you have already seen everything else and have a craving for some buttery popcorn then it is perfect as a 3 Quack film. 

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