Broken City

Art & Culture
It’s always best to approach a film with low expectations, and then be glad of any few small gems that twinkle in the overall darkness. And while there are very few gems and a lot of darkness, it’s not the worst bog standard political thriller I’ve ever seen.
Mark Wahlberg plays a cop who escapes a prison sentence for shooting a man who has escaped a rape conviction on a technicality. Russell Crowe plays the New York City mayor who approves of his actions, but is unable to prevent him being sacked anyway. Seven years later, Wahlberg – now a private detective –  is summoned to Crowe’s office and asked to investigate Crowe’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who he suspects is having an affair. There’s a big election coming up, and he wants to make sure there’s no doubt for the media to expose. At least, that’s his story.
We know it can’t be true because Crowe is obviously a sleazebag, and so it proves. Zeta-Jones is having assignments with Crowe’s rival’s main man, but sex is not what they have in mind. It’s hard to care very much about any of the characters, but there’s a good cast, including Jeffrey Wright as the Chief of Police, and a few other familiar faces. And although Crowe has gone to seed somewhat as he approaches 50, he’s still an actor with a certain presence. Wahlberg, however, is not the most sympathetic leading man. Nothing much seems to go on in his face, and he needs someone alongside him to bring any depth to his scenes. Otherwise he just seems like a bit of a dickhead, as in when he dumps his girlfriend for no good reason.
This is a film that comes, goes and then disappears. Your life won’t be blighted by not seeing it, but won’t be ruined if you do see it.


Phil Raby