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Saturday, November 2, 2013

'Broken:' Awesome Brit Flick Merges 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and 'Knot's Landing'



The November 5, 2013 DVD release of "Broken" continues the perfect track record of Film Movement regarding its unparalleled Film of the Month Club that features thoroughly awesome (primarily foreign) independent films and well-chosen companion shorts. It is difficult to imagine any subscriber not eagerly checking the mail when a film is due to arrive.

Unreal TV's review of September 2013 selection "Three Worlds" includes a more comprehensive description of this club.

Well-deserved accolades for "Broken" include winning the Best Film and Supporting Actors awards at the British Independent Film Awards and selection as an Opening Night film at the Cannes Film Festival.

"Broken" is a BBC production of a film that is a cross between the classic novel and film "To Kill a Mockingbird" and '80s prime time soap "Knot's Landing." This tale involves events over a summer and autumn that greatly change the life of 11 year-old Skunk  (rather than Scout) who lives in a North London cul-de-sac in which every family experiences inter-related high-drama.

Skunk even has a caring nanny but an absent mother and compassionate and ethical solicitor (my people call them attorneys) Archie for a father. Tim Roth is no Gregory Peck but does an excellent job as Archie. Virtually every other cast member is as well-known as Roth in the U.K., and several have had prominent roles in American productions.

The very unruly Oswalds, who are a nightmare version of the Gallaghers of the U.K. and U.S. version of the television series "Shameless," are at the center of the violence and other drama in the otherwise quiet middle-class neighborhood. It is very sad that most of us can relate to having a family like that on our streets.

A teen-age Oswald daughter falsely accusing mentally impaired 20-something neighbor Rick Buckley of having sex with her so the girl can avoid the wrath of her father's incredibly violent temper prompts Mr. Oswald to brutally beat Rick. This trauma and resulting arrest for rape sends Rick into a downward spiral that leads to compelling and tragic drama within his own family.

Meanwhile at the surnameless Skunk household, Archie's efforts to restore peace in the neighborhood do not go so well.

Other drama relates to Archie starting a new romance, Skunk's older brother hooking up with an Oswald daughter, and the nanny's steady boyfriend (played by the particularly awesome Cillian Murphy of many hits such as "Inception" and "Batman Begins") experiencing nearly simultaneous heartbreak, brutal beating, and false criminal accusation.

Murphy's portrayal of the very likable Mike Kiernan and the fact that Mike stumbles into this whole mess places him at the top of list of sympathetic characters for whom every audience with even a semblance of a heart feels deeply.

Another nice element of this truly "must-see" film is that it brings things full circle. This conclusion additionally screams out both for a sequel and for Film Movement to release one if it is made.

The bonus British short film "The Way the World Ends," not to be confused with this year's British film "The End of the World," is a great accompanying drama. This one involves a couple discovering on waking up that the sun is no longer in the sky; every aspect of this is very well done and keeps you guessing to the very end. It further provides an awesome message about true love.

Needless to say, this film is well worth adding to your DVD collection.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Broken" or Film Movement is encouraged to email me. You can also find me on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.