‘Broken’ could stand for many things within this film, broken homes, broken families, broken minds it is all encompassing and yet at the same time slightly fragile. We have on a very base level a kind of coming of age drama centred on Skunk played brilliantly by newcomer Eloise Laurence as she faces a life of changes after witnessing an event in the cul-de-sac she shares with several dysfunctional families. But more than that you have a study of cause and effect, of actions and ramifications and how certain decisions can alter things for everyone. Every character has a back story which a lot of the time is only alluded to causing the viewer to make up their own minds about how we get to the stage we are viewing. Also the director and editor play around with the time line so certain things play out slightly disjointed before revealing themselves. There is also a subtle and intimate use of cinematography to convey mood, cropped shots; lighting and abstract images give the film, when not playing out straight, a kind of Malick like poetry. The script can at times be quite funny which helps balances some of the more sombre moments as the film doesn’t shy away from gritty realism. Tim Roth plays the doting father to Skunk and along with Cillian Murphy as the suffering family friend and eventual teacher they both give strong performances as the story unfolds. My only criticism is the film gets a little sentimental in one place with a scene which I personally thought it could have done without. That said for a home-grown low budget film ‘Broken’ is an intelligent triumph for British cinema.


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