Title: Broken City
Directed by Allen Hughes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffery Wright, Barry Pepper, and Kyle Chandler.
Runtime: 109 Min
Mark Wahlberg can’t catch a break, or at least his character Billy Taggart can’t in his newest film “ Broken City”. While there is an intriguing detective story about political corruption with plenty of twists and turns, it all comes down to how much life can crap on Taggart before he breaks. The story is pretty good about corruption, redemption and how one man tries to have all the questions answered in the overall arc. And while it is fun to go on this mystery with Wahlberg, not all the questions get answered with the details of the who’s and why’s. The dialogue is spoken very quickly with no breaks, as if they are trying to fit everything they can before the runtime ends, but at the same time forget to explain the little things that matter.
“Broken City” is about Billy Taggert (Wahlberg) who goes to far with a murder investigation he is working on. He gets put on trail and the city of New York is torn over whether or not he did the right thing. The Mayor of New York, Nicholas Hostetler (Crowe) is his side and uses his political power to make sure the court sees it his way, while Police Commissioner Colin Fairbanks (Wright) does not see eye to eye with the Mayor. Seven years pass after the trail and even though Taggert wasn’t put in jail, he was fired from the force. He starts his own Private Investigator business, which is not going well finically. Then the mayor calls with a job that pays a substantial amount of money. He takes the job right away without asking any questions, but the further Taggert investigates, the more he finds out the job is not the case he thought it would be.
With a cast like this, it would be hard to fault any shortcomings of film just based on their performances. Everyone involved brings the talent that they are known for. They try their best and mostly succeed for what they are given throughout the script. Crowe and Wahlberg’s New York accents borderline stereotypical, but it’s mostly passable. It was refreshing to see Wahlberg play a cop who uses his head to get the job done instead of his fists. Crowe does his best for the material he is given, but the role is pretty much the evil corrupt politician who has a secret plan. As for the rest of the cast, they have good bit parts but sadly come and go because of how fast the story and dialogue is rolling.
Visually it is a very dark movie, either always taking place at night or in rainy, cloudy weather to hammer home the point that this is a dark mystery. One of the better parts of the film though is Atticus Ross’s score. The Academy Award-winning composer uses a very similar sound that we heard from “The Social Network” with its semi-electronic score. It definitely is a bit of a change to hear for a political thriller, and makes the story way more interesting than it needs to be.
Overall “Broken City” is trying its best to be a classic 1970s detective thriller. While it does succeed for the most part with its story and characters, it becomes crippled due to the convoluted details they decide to skip over with the fast story telling and rapid fire dialogue.
By: Collin Kobelja