Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Broken

Reviews - Broken

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Reviewed By Stephen Pye

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Let's start with the positives: this debut film by the director Rufus Norris (2012) lasted just over 90minutes and went in no time. It was action packed, with a blue chip cast featuring, Tim Roth, Robert Emes, and Rory Kinnear, and a star for the future in Eloise Laurence. The cinematography by Rob Hardy is tremendous. The audience of 124 at the Alhambra on Sunday evening overwhelmingly gave it the thumbs up with over three quarters awarding it either 4 or 5 stars.

Unfortunately this reviewer gave it 2 stars and felt it totally unconvincing. It was like watching a violent episode of Brookside on speed. With such an excellent cast it was almost impossible for it not to be impressive in some ways, with Rory Kinnear brilliant as the near deranged father Bob Oswald trying to bring up three teenage daughters following the death of his wife. His grief was raw and palpable and his violence was matched by moments of real tenderness. The best moment of the whole film for me was when his neighbour and solicitor, played by Tim Roth, went round to ask if he needed help only to be kept on the doorstep by Oswald as he consumed slices of plastic ham straight from the packet, whilst, at the same time, leaving Archie in no doubt as to where to apply any legal expertise!

The problem was one of credibility. Two murders, one suicide, one stomach churning death, one near death, and two scenes of G.B.H, all stemming from the relationships between three families on a decidedly middle class cul-de-sac containing, I think, 6 houses. Little wonder we never saw the inhabitants of the other three as they must have been quaking behind the sofa or too scared to return from Malaga.

It is worth asking the question if the setting had been a bleak council estate on the edge of a northern city what might our reaction have been? Somehow placing the 'action' in a wealthy suburb allowed us to feel oddly secure as we weren't judging the inhabitants.

The film though strained comprehension to the limit, and, therefore, it has to be asked, what on earth was it trying to achieve? I suspect the answer lies simply in the word 'entertain', in which then, in its own gruesome fashion, it succeeded. Little else remains. I was glad to be accompanied back to our own more sedate, middle class, ecclesiastical environs!

Next week we are off to Barcelona for a Spanish Hitchcockian thriller –'Sleep Tight'.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

Since then, the club has won Film Society Of The Year and awards for Best Programme four times and Best Website twice.

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