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on 11 December 2015
I cannot agree with the extremely positive reviews. I was highly disappointed by the film, not (only) because it was nothing but depressing but since it failed at being a well-made drama/growing-up story. In my opinion/experience (judging from life and all the truly successful dramas) the tragedy in growing up/being human is that life happens - i.e. the cruel, unfair, mean life, destroyed chances, blows of fate etc., but in this film, there is definitely a villain/there are villains causing all the pain for all the families/people in their vicinity, and this is the primitive, destructive, gross, reckless family Oswald (and in extension the brats on the scooters) - and I am sorry that they had to suffer from a blow of fate themselves, but that's no excuse at all, you just DO NOT/NEVER behave so reckless and mean as they (all!!) do. And whenever there is a villain, then it is not a drama about the injustice of life itself but rather a simple crime story (a typical "life happens (and it's pretty much nobody's fault)"-element is/would be Skunk's father having an affair with the babysitter, but that is of less importance for the sad events in this story). And with no valuable moral either, for we all know that it is primitive, thoughtless, reckless people who make life for all other beings (human or not human) a lving hell, but since 90% of humans are like this (more or less/to a varying extent) and since these people are as they are they will never care and never change, so for me this is a pointless story and more than this it is not an entertaining pointless story but an utterly depressing one, so nothing positive comes out of watching - do yourself a favour and choose a different film.
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on 17 March 2015
Excellent film. Superb acting by Eloise Lawrence. Very good story, emotional, tense with a touch of humour. This is British acting at it's best.
I shall no doubt be watching this again.....and again over the years.
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on 14 March 2013
3 families' lifes living in a cul de sac are entangled through the violant attack of a father of three. His victim is the mentally challenged neighbours' son who befriends the daughter of a single father/solicitor. With a wonderful cast this at times bleak British drama deeply moves on many levels.
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on 18 December 2013
English theatre and film director Rufus Norris` feature film debut which was written by Irish screenwriter and playwright Mark O`Rowe, is an adaptation of a novel from 2008 by author Daniel Clay. It premiered in the Special Screenings section of the International Critics` Week at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in England and is a United Kingdom production which was produced by producers Bill Kenwright, Tally Garner, Dixie Linder and Nick Marston. It tells the story about a girl named Skunk Cunningham who lives with her brother named Jed, their father named Archie who is a solicitor and their Polish nanny named Kasia. A father named Bob Oswald who lives with his three daughters named Saskia, Susan and Sunrise, a man named Rick Buckley who lives with his parents named Janet and Dave and Kasia`s boyfriend named Mike Kiernan who is a teacher.

Distinctly and subtly directed by English filmmaker Rufus Norris, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character`s point of view, draws an incisive and intriguing portrayal of an 11-year-old schoolchild with diabetes and her relationship with her father, her teacher, her brother, a neighbour and a boy named Dillon. While notable for its naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, sterling production design by English production designer and art director Kave Quinn, cinematography by British cinematographer Rob Hardy and use of colors and light, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story about the rites of passage, false accusations, physical assault, bullying, friendship and mental illness depicts several heartfelt and heartrending studies of character and contains a great score by music supervision company Electric Wave Bureau.

This dramatic, conscientious, sociological and affectionate character piece which is set mostly in a neighbourhood in England and where an array of happenings brings the lives of three English families together, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented and brilliant narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, interrelated stories, colorful and contrasting characters and memorable acting performances by actress Eloise Laurence in her debut feature film role, English actor and director Tim Roth, Irish actor Cillian Murphy, English actor Rory Kinnear, English actor Robert Emms, Bosnian actress Zana Marjanovic, actress Martha Bryant and actor George Sargeant. An eloquently romantic, invariably engaging and virtuous indie which gained the award for Best British Independent Film at the 15th British Independent Film Awards in 2012.
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on 15 August 2013

Broken is a social drama shot through with the notion of hope, resilience and the old adage 'a flower in a dustbin'. As such it is probably one of the better examples of 'Broken Britain' cinema, bleak in parts but not needlessly melodramatic/gritty. Certainly the twilight direction (Rufus Norris) and cinematography (Rob Hardy) garner some beauty amidst the despair.

I haven't read the novel on which its based, written by Dan Clay. but I'd be interested to know if the slightly non linear way the interwoven stories of three households in a North London cul-de-sac is in keeping with the source or an invention of the film. Equally I wonder if the vague feeling of To Kill A Mockingbird (father who is a solicitor/lawyer and young inquisitive daughter who shows great promise live across the road from the neighbourhood 'freak') features in the novel, or if that was just me!

I'm a big fan of Tim Roth and I'm so glad to see him here as Archie, the solid and reliable solicitor and father of Skunk, mainly because it feels like a return to his socially aware indie low budget British roots (Made In Britain, Meantime, King of the Ghetto) But the real stars of this film are Rory Kinnear, who is fast proving he can play absolutely anything (compare this to his current TV appearances in the charming sitcom Count Arthur Strong and the gripping dour drama Southcliffe) as the neighbourhood thug whose actions and those of his three daughters poison everything. It's a relief however to see that it is not a one note characterisation, there's more facets to his personality and as horrid as he is, his behaviour is at least understandable depicting almost the other side of the coin to Tim Roth's character, in that both of them are single parents making their way across the minefield, albeit Roth more successfully than the less open minded Kinnear. Then of course there is Eloise Laurence as Skunk. Much has been said of this promising newcomer so I feel I've little to contribute except to concur she is indeed one to watch.

Broken is a realistic, poignant film that builds up nicely to a gripping affecting climax whilst also capably depicting that innocence of youth and the hazy summers between school years.
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on 23 March 2014
the best film I have seen in a long time gripping from the start and you really care about the characters (well most of them some your not really supposed to be rooting for) well shot (without the director trying to show off) great story, the fact when I watched this I was actually talking to the film shows how it really grabs you in. everything is done well. a perfect film
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on 15 February 2015
I didn't think a story about an eleven year old girl with type one diabetes (Skunk),who lives in a suburban cul-de-sac would appeal to me, but what an amazing film. To think that I nearly didn't bother watching it. I would have missed out on an absolute gem of a film. It's definitely in my top ten films of all time. I only in fact watched it because Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth are two of my favourite actors, and both of them gave excellent performances. However, every cast member was completely outshone by Eloise Lawrence in the lead role of Skunk (Emily Cunningham).

The story is very cleverly directed, often showing the consequences of the protagonists actions, then showing the circumstances immediately beforehand in a flashback. Without giving the plot away, Skunk is a sweet innocent and open hearted girl who is exposed to a series of events which upset her or she doesn't understand. Many of the people which she has come to love, for one reason or another are departed or removed from her life to the extent that she feels more and more secluded and alone. There are some very moving scenes that had me fighting back tears at several points through the film. You just can't help but love Skunk. Not only because of the incredibly convincing acting of Eloise Lawrence, but also for the clever directing of Rufus Norris. The opening scenes of the film show Skunk as a baby, but also as the present day eleven year old in a hospital bed with all tubes and stuff coming out of her. So strait away you know something bad is going to happen at some point in the film. This was a clever trick, because the more the viewer gets to know the character of Skunk, the more they grow to love her. I spent most of the film waiting for something terrible to happen, that would result in Skunk being in hospital. This uniquely puts the viewer in the shoes of a worried parent of a vulnerable and sensitive diabetic eleven year old daughter. It does this extremely effectively. Even the song in the title theme (sung by Eloise Lawrence) is cleverly worded to relate to the plot and themes of the story.

There's something about this film that resonates on a deep level, that is driven by excellent direction and the performances Eloise Lawrence and Tim Roth as Skunk's Dad. Not having any children myself, this film gave me a glimpse of what I Imagine it's like to be a Dad. If I ever do have a daughter, I hope she's just like Skunk.

A truly moving, deep and inspirational film, that works on so many levels. A Must watch!
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on 23 December 2013
The formula - choose a modern urban setting and crosscut the interplay amongst the damaged families causing further damage to each other - moves towards a vaguely redemptive ending. If you want a bit of harrowing, without any real intellectual challenge, this would be a good Tuesday night film. The actors, who are uniformly strong, would have profited from a better script.
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on 16 November 2013
The sixth entry in the Film on Friday series is Broken - starring Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy, directed by Rufus Norris. This film has won a large number of awards - amongst them, Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards and it was also an opening night film at Cannes Critics Week.

Eleven year old Skunk lives with her brother, father and housekeeper in a cul-de-sac populated by only a few families. Hers is not the only family touched by tragedy (Mom has run away). Neighbour Bob Oswald's wife has died, leaving him to raise his three hellion daughters. Mr and Mrs Buckley live with their brain damaged adult son Rick across the street.

Skunk witnesses a violent attack on Rick by neighbour Bob who is convinced that Rick has sexually assaulted one of his daughters. That attack seems to be a catalyst, triggering a chain of events that impacts every resident of the cul-de-sac. But none more than Skunk. Her naivete is slowly eroded by the anger she witnesses both outside of her home and within - the housekeeper and her boyfriend have a tumultuous relationship. Skunk makes tentative overtures into exploring her own burgeoning sexuality, but is exposed to more than an eleven year old needs to see. The violence continues to escalate, following her to school and eventually erupting on that dead end street.

Each and every character in Broken is, well, broken. Norris explores the human condition through the dysfunctional relationships portrayed. But also through the good and positive as well. Themes of love, hate, forgiveness, loss, hope, friendship, bullying, mental illness and more are explored.

You could draw many parallels between To Kill a Mockingbird and Broken - Scout/Skunk, fathers who are lawyers, a minority being persecuted and a loss of innocence. But Norris puts his own stamp on things in Broken. I started out feeling one way about a number of the characters and found my reactions and thoughts turned around by the end.

Eloise Laurence is new to acting, but I predict she has a future in the biz. She was wonderfully unaffected and realistic. Each and every actor involved was excellent. Norris effectively uses single, isolated shots of the principles, underlining their isolation.

I thought Broken was truly an excellent film. Not easy to watch by any means - I did stop it two or three times to get up and come back in a few minutes, but one that was absolutely riveting. Five stars.

United Kingdom. 2012. 90 min. Drama. English

As always, Film Movement includes a short with their main feature. The Way the World Ends again manipulates our perception, starting off with what seems to be a light premise and turning into something altogether different. And it paired well with Broken.
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on 25 April 2016
This is a cold, stark, look at the state of a modern, ostensibly middle class neighbourhood in an English city. It is the story of the hidden connections, and the disconnection, between neighbours in a suburban cul-de-sac, and the way that events impact everyone, despite people having little connection. It is what happens when people stop communicating.
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