Director: Rufus Norris
Country: United Kingdom
It’s always fun to watch a debut film from a director who shows true signs of potential greatness and talent for the future. Rufus Norris is one such director. His debut film Broken, is simply excellent.
The film details the story of many different lives in a cozy little North London neighbourhood. There’s the precocious and diabetic girl Skunk, her brother and single father played by Tim Roth. They have a babysitter named Kasia who lives with them and every once in a while, Skunk’s friend Mike, played by Cillian Murphy shows up to play Uno.
Across the street is the elderly couple with a mentally disabled son. There’s also the violent and abusive single father trying to raise his three problematic daughters. Broken is seen predominantly through the character of Skunk. We get to see all of the love, joy, pain, sadness and heartbreak through her eyes. The title of the film is applicable to every character it follows. Every character has its flaws, but it is how each character chooses to handle the situations in the film that makes each of them so interesting in their own respective ways.
On paper, Broken is your typical family drama. The film is predictable and follows the most expected story beats. That being said, it is the way that the film is executed that makes it such a hard-hitting and emotional experience. Norris has a keen eye for excellent visuals and depth of field. In short, the film looks great, but it is the performances that really knock it out of the park.
Eloise Lawrence as Skunk has her debut-acting role in Broken and is absolutely phenomenal. The film is shown from her perspective and, in being so, Lawrence has to do a lot of the emotional heavy lifting in the film. She does so with much confidence and a very admirable quality. I look forward to seeing more of her films. Roth is also excellent as per usual. He portrays the role of a struggling father to excellent effect. And you can’t go wrong with Murphy in a supporting role. It would have been nice to see him in a bigger role, but he was still solid in it nonetheless.
Broken is hard-hitting familial drama with excellent performances and absolutely gorgeous cinematography. After having sat through and immensely enjoyed the viewing experience, I can’t wait to see what film Rufus Norris directs next.
By Philip Clarke