Based on a novel by Daniel Clay, Broken, explores the relationship between love, loss and everything in-between. Think about mixing the old-fashioned charm and heart of To Kill a Mockingbird with the modern day soap opera, and add a pinch of Neighbours From Hell to the mix - and you’ll get a taste of what award-winning theatre director Rufus Norris’s debut feature film is all about.
The indie melodrama centres on an 11-year-old tomboy and type 1 diabetic named Skunk (Eloise Laurence) who lives in a suburban cul-de-sac in North London with her solicitor dad (Tim Roth), her older "too cool for school" brother Jed (Bill Milner) and her hopeless romantic au pair Kasia (Zana Marjanovic) – who happens to be dating Skunk’s teacher (Cillian Murphy). Skunk’s sweet-nature and longing for a close friend sees her form a special bond with Rick "Broken" Buckley (Robert Emms), a twenty-something challenged recluse, who is bullied by a local family of thugs called The Oswalds.
After witnessing a violent attack on her doorstep, Skunk’s innocence is swept from beneath her feet. In the blink of an eye she finds herself in a shocking situation that can only be explained as every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s at this point that Broken takes a swift turn down sombre avenue.
Newcomer Eloise Laurence is an absolute gem to watch. Viewers will find themselves rooting for her character from beginning to end. Tim Roth is outstanding in his role as the concerned father who struggles to cope with single-parenthood. There are some tender and worthwhile father/daughter moments in the movie that tug at the heartstrings. Our very own Cillian Murphy is extremely credible as Mike, the kind-hearted teacher who feels slightly lost and unsettled in life.
Robert Emms is terrific in his role as the unstable and misunderstood young adult. His character demands compassion, while simultaneously instilling fear in the viewer. Mr Oswald (Rory Kinnear) offers great support as the out-of-control widower whose obnoxious behaviour and lack of respect for society is mirrored by his three ASBO-deserving children.
Broken brings to the fore the complexities of life and addresses the notion that not everything in this world can be taken at face value.
A poignant and truly rewarding movie that was streets ahead of the rest at this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.