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All-star cast manages to repair Broken City

As I settled into the plush red chair surrounded by a sparse crowd of middle-aged couples, I had absolutely no idea what the plot of the movie was. I entered Broken City not knowing what to expect, but was soon pleasantly surprised.

Broken City follows former cop turned private investigator Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) as he finds himself in the midst of a New York City political scandal, and is later double-crossed and framed by Mayor Nick Hostetler (Russell Crowe).

What the movie lacked in advertising it makes up for in mysterious looks and lies. The movie opens with Taggart shooting a man who is thought to have raped and beaten a young girl, a pivotal scene that’s importance is underscored at the end of the film.

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Wahlberg’s portrayal of a tough and troubled city man who has been through more than his fair share of fights is convincing and captivating. Additionally, Crowe delivers an enjoyable performance as a corrupt mayor with an impressive evil grin who will stop at nothing to get reelected.

Broken City’s all-star cast contains actors that have collectively raked in multiple Oscars and Golden Globes for past roles. However, none of the cast appears to truly get the opportunity to shine due to the film’s fairly pedestrian script. While the movie is exciting, its plot is nothing incredible. With corrupt politicians, wandering wives, and alcoholic cops, much of the plot has been done before. However, the movie still feels fresh and exciting. Though usually someone who gets bored very easily in movies, I found myself interested for the entire film, likely because director Allen Hughes is able to pack a great deal of plot into the movie’s short running time.

While the movie is considered a crime drama, it also has twinges of romance and an element of witty humor worthy of audible laughter. The romance in the movie seems to be there simply to appease the female audience — which it fails miserably in doing. Natalie Martinez’s portrayal of Taggart’s girlfriend is weak, unnecessary, and just shy of stupid. Martinez plays an actress who has just finished an “indie” film, and the worst scenes in the movie are hands-down from her film — which includes an awkward, almost painful looking sex scene that creates tension between Taggart and his girlfriend.

Overall, Broken City is enjoyable. While its plot is not the most original, it is fairly surprising and laced with two-faced characters and competing motives. Moreover, the film is easy to follow (at least on a surface level), and while it favors mental and strategic action over blood-spilling and gun violence, it does have a few action scenes that are well-done and fitting.

Broken City is rated R and runs for 109 minutes.

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About the Contributor
Diana Tarrazo, Author