Broken Dir. Rufus Norris, Out March 15th at QFT Belfast
Who’s in it? Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth, Rory Kinnear, Eloise Laurence
What’s it about? Winner of Best Film at the British Independent Film awards, Broken is stage-turned-screen director Rufus Norris’ bruising debut feature about the loss of innocence. It’s a coming of age tale “in a full on way”, says Norris, exploring in gritty detail the often damaging emotional legacy of a troubled childhood. When 11 year old Skunk (Eloise Laurence) witnesses an act of violence in the quiet North London neighbourhood she calls home, it brings her face to face with the harsh realities of the world around her.
Memorable Moments? After her troubled friend Rick takes her hostage, having pushed his mother down the stairs and beaten up his dad, the film’s heroine Skunk – played with appropriate intensity by newcomer Eloise Laurence – being Diabetic and deprived of her meds, falls into Hypoglycemic shock. Like a feature length episode of Eastenders, only less sunny.
Quotable Quotes: ‘It feels relentlessly miserable and shocking – as if all the most lurid events in two decades of Brookside had been squeezed into 90 minutes.’ – David Gritten, The Daily Telegraph
If you like that, try this: In a similar vein to Norris’ Broken, We need to Talk about Kevin (2011), starring Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, examines the origins of bad behaviour. Both films aim at discomfort, bringing the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate regarding social dysfunction close to home with their skewed take on everyday relationships and events.
Trivia Pursuit: In his first British film role since starring stateside in hit TV drama Lie To Me, Pulp Fiction star Tim Roth, in an interview with heyyouguys.co.uk, said he relished the familiar tropes of British conversation and enjoyed being back “within the realms of all that sarcasm”. Roth steps out of his bad guy comfort zone in Broken to play the “inherently good” Archie, admitting he was challenged to go against his instincts as an actor, having to resist the temptation to do a “screaming big performance”.
This article first appeared in The Belfast Telegraph Friday 15th March 2013