Pin It
Favorite

Played Out 

Broken City’s tale of corruption feels dated and worn out

click to enlarge Even Marky Mark can’t save this one.
  • Even Marky Mark can’t save this one.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the script for Broken City — by otherwise un-credited newbie Brian Tucker — had been sitting around, unproduced, for 20 years. It’s that musty in too many incomprehensible ways.

Not the noir-ish vibe it opens with: gritty urban crime drama never goes out of style. But the things it chooses to be gritty and cynical about are odd and outdated — as if the sorts of corruption on display here were unexpected or shocking, while it lets hints of potential scandals that would have been far more modern and could have been much more deliciously, chessily salacious — or even genuinely unsettling — slide past without even noticing them.

New York City Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) is expecting easy re-election in a few days when he brings in disgraced-cop-turned-cheap-PI Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) to do his usual thing: get pics of the city’s first lady (Catherine Zeta-Jones) with the lover Hostetler knows she’s sneaking out to see.

Of course there’s much more going on than meets our eye, or Taggart’s... but what it is isn’t all that interesting. It plays out by devolving into a muddled mess of confused motives — such as the scene in which Taggart finds himself in a situation with the police commissioner (Jeffrey Wright, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), whom he previously couldn’t stand to be in the same room with, but who suddenly appears to be operating in tandem with him. It’s as if the two men were longstanding partners who shared an almost telepathic link; it made me honestly wonder if important scenes had been entirely deleted.

But the most puzzling mustiness comes from the complete lack of any appreciation on the part of screenwriter Tucker, or director Allen Hughes (who directed The Book of Eli with his brother, Albert), that this story is happening in 2010s New York. Crowe’s apparent attempts to channel Rudy Giuliani might be OK if the city here didn’t also feel very pre-9/11 — even ’90s-ish. I don’t recognize this New York except as a distant memory, and I barely recognize two actors — Crowe and Wahlberg — who are usually a lot more engaging than what they give us here. I’d love to see them together again in a movie that deserves them.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Good Goes Bad
  • Good Goes Bad

    The Avengers have to fight themselves in the CGI-happy Age of Ultron
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • Student and Pupil
  • Student and Pupil

    Ethan Hawke's documentary Seymour: An Introduction mediates long and hard on artistry
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • War Games
  • War Games

    In Country unpacks Vietnam by recreating it
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Finals Fest feat. Chance the Rapper

Finals Fest feat. Chance the Rapper @ University of Idaho

Tue., May 5, 7 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

  • Good Goes Bad
  • Good Goes Bad

    The Avengers have to fight themselves in the CGI-happy Age of Ultron
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • Sequel Success
  • Sequel Success

    Insurgent is more creative than a lot of sci-fi — and that doesn't say a lot about today's movies
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Pay to Play

    The power struggle between three music-licensing agencies, local venues and musicians trying to get paid
    • Apr 8, 2015
  • War Games

    In Country unpacks Vietnam by recreating it
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Music


Film


Hip-hop


long reads


Rap


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation