Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’m the first to admit, considering I’m not the brightest bulb in the box, that sometimes a movie simply goes beyond my meager ability to comprehend. There is the occasion however that I have to call a movie out for what it is, one that’s masquerading as a high brow, sophisticated, complicated cinema when it’s really just plain old bullshit. Now there will be people who will discuss said bullshit at length, pretending that it’s something more than the bullshit that it is and there is some deeper meaning to this bullshit but trust me when I tell you, no matter how many fancy words you wrap around it, it is still bullshit. This leads me to Director Sean Ellis After Dark Horrorfest feature ‘The Broken’ which has some great cinematography, some nice horror elements, a very solid performance from it’s beautiful star Lena Headey and a narrative filled with the kind of confusion which borders on pretension which gets people talking about its cinematic complexities when in reality it’s all a bunch of bullshit. But wait… maybe not so much. Oh I still think the narrative in ‘The Broken’ is bunch of bullshit but I also see enough of a good movie in this mess to think that a ‘Director’s Cut’ may be in order.

Gina McVey (Headey) is having a strange couple of days. This strangeness culminates with Gina, on a London corner using a pay phone, observes herself drive by in her Cherokee yakking on a cell phone. Gina should’ve been asking herself how come her other self gets a Blackberry while she has to use a payphone, but she wasn’t thinking like that and follows this other self around the corner where she parked her vehicle and went into her flat with Gina close behind. We’re not quite sure what happened in the apartment but one of the Gina’s gets into the Cherokee and proceeds to drive head first into cab sending her to a short stay at the hospital.

Now things are really getting weird. Since the accident Gina is having the strangest, most horrific nightmares, there are gaping holes in her memory, she is convinced that

her boyfriend Stefan (Melvin Poupaud) isn’t her boyfriend anymore but some kind of pod, she has this odd sensation that somebody is following her and there are fragments of her life that she simply doesn’t remember happening though the proof that it has happened is right in front of her. Eventually everything will come to a head and the truth will be revealed… more or less.

SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW!!! So I didn’t like ‘The Broken’ all that much even though there is a lot about the movie to like. The movie has atmosphere to burn and Angus Hudson’s cinematography is damn near perfect for the style of this film. The performances are also very good from Ms. Heady to veteran Richard Jenkins, and Ellis has a horror filmmaker’s sensibilities with a couple nicely staged and very effective horror sequences. And even though the pace of this movie for like the first hour or so was like a snail going through cold molasses… even that was tolerable. But nothing adds up. I am assuming from the time we see Gina in the phone booth she is the doppelganger. She then kills the real Gina, gets into a car accident and then becomes confused about who she really is. But there are these inconsistent gaps in her memory such as her not remembering where she lives but she somehow remembers her boyfriends phone number. She doesn’t remember the picture she took with her father but she remembers falling off a horse at thirteen. If she’s the doppelganger then why did we have that evil Gina on the other side of the mirror, after the accident, making that violent move towards her other self, other than the fact it looked cool? There was a confusing scene were her sister-in-law came home to find a mirror broken on the floor, which is a really bad thing is this movie, and called Gina’s brother who ignored the call because I thought he was a doppelganger because it looks like these doppelgangers don’t answer phones and he sure was acting like one, but as it turns I guess he wasn’t one since he’s freaking out every time he sees someone who is obviously a doppelganger. What exactly is it that prompts the doubles to do what they do? The Sister-in-laws double killed her on the spot while the fathers double was chilling in the real world co-existing with the real father for quite a while before he put him down. And can only a doppelganger eliminate his or her original?

There a crapload more junk that doesn’t make a lick a sense in this movie and that’s not even getting into the issue of ‘why’. Who are these creatures? Where do they come from? Have they been hiding out in the mirrors since the day we were born? What are their goals? Why are they seemingly unable to speak in multi syllabic words, except for Gina’s doppelganger who can’t shut up. What in the hell do they plan to do with these rotting dead glassy eyed bodies they have stashed throughout London? If I were to use the films final scene as some justification for what they have done it would appear they have entered our world for sheer joy of driving a Jeep Cherokee.

It’s all bullshit. There’s nothing even remotely ‘Hitchcockian’ about this movie as I had heard. Rope, Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest… those movies made sense. However, despite that fact that it was all bullshit this bullshit has stuck with me. I can’t shake this bullshit. I saw ‘Cashback’ and I know Sean Ellis has the skills which has left me thinking that there’s more to this movie that what we’re seeing. I’m thinking Lionsgate execs might have gotten a hold of this, seeing how slow it moves, and arbitrarily made some cuts to shorten its length, speed it up a bit and get it out the door. I don’t know if ‘The Broken’ will be successful enough to even warrant something like a director’s cut, but I’d actually pay money to see it. As it stands today, it’s simply a bunch of bullshit. If I haven’t made that clear.

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