Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A review of "The Broken"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “The Broken”

By: Brian Cotnoir

See it!  It's Art, not Porn. I swear!
     When I was in college my favorite film was this unknown Independent film made in 2006 called “Cashback”.  “Cashback” was originally a short film that was made in 2004 and it actually received on Oscar Nomination for Best Short Film.  The film was so well liked and popular that the film’s Director, Sean Ellis, managed to secure funding to turn his short—twenty minute long—film into a full-length feature.  I absolutely adore and enjoy this film.  It was a film that I’d watch over and over again and each time I would notice something in the film that I didn’t notice before.  I forced all my friends and family to watch this film with me because I wanted to show them how great of a film “Cashback” actually was, and this was the first film I can ever remember seeing that made me feel “intelligent” and like a “film aficionado” because of how well it was made. Two years after the release of “Cashback” Sean Ellis wrote and directed another film—the film that I am reviewing today—called “The Broken”.  So did this up-and-coming director that I had such a great admiration for directing one of my favorite’s films of All-Time have a successful follow up? Well...                             
This film is a bit of a mind-f*ck, but not in a way like Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”, but more in a it’s “too open to many different interpretations” Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist”.  So with that being said, the story of “The Broken” follows the life of a British radiologist named Gina who seems to have a typical life until one day she notices a woman on the street who looks exactly like her and has a car and a boyfriend exactly like hers.  So Gina follows this mysterious woman and discovers that she has her own apartment and a picture with her father.  Gina becomes concerned and takes off in a frantic fear.  She eventually get’s into a serious car accident and when she wakes up she tries explaining to people what she was doing before the accident. Gina seems a lot more paranoid after the accident and believes that there are other doppelgangers that look like her, her friends and her family, are escaping from portals to another world via mirrors and that they want to take over the lives of the people who they look like. Many doctors believe that Gina, possibly, suffered some brain damage or trauma from the accident and that’s why she’s acting so paranoid, but is there a possibility that the person Gina saw is a doppelganger who escaped via a portal between a mirror and the real world, and who wants to take over Gina’s life.                                        
Yeah, know one smiles in this's very dreary
    So this film, like Sean Ellis’s other film has amazing cinematography.  The shots of the car accident are done so well (though they do get a bit repetitive throughout the film).  There are a lot of cool aerial shots of the city of London as well throughout the film.  Also, the shots of the mirror world looking in on the real world are also done well, it’s almost like this mirror world is underwater they are that cool.  The story though falls flat.  Now it’s not that the story isn’t great because it actually is a very interesting story; the idea that there is another world located within a mirror where the people in the mirror world all yearn to escape and take over the lives of the people they look like.  Unfortunately, this film doesn’t have a lot of consistency.  Early on in the film there is no suspense, and you can pretty much figure out everything that’s going to happen.  Then towards the middle of the film it’s all suspense and all drama, then towards the end it goes back to no suspense.                                             
Worst Heroine Ever!
The characters aren’t really that memorable or likeable.  Everyone just seems so bland and uninterested.  I mean the only really differences between the characters and the doppelgangers is that the doppelgangers don’t talk when their on screen.  That’s really the only difference we get between the two.  Also the dialogue, especially early on in the film, is incredibly boring.  Ninety-percent of the dialogue at the beginning of the film is all small-talk and nothing interesting is being said, I was just so bored the first hours of this film and I was waiting for something to happen.                                              
Sean Ellis, a promising young director
    This film has a great idea, but I just feel that it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.  I think somewhere down the road, I will definitely want to do a Retrospect on this film to see if I had missed something that I didn’t notice the first time I watched this film.  This is not a bad film, but I just feel like the symbolism and the sub-plots are way too intelligent for a lot of people and I think a lot of the ideas and elements that Sean Ellis put into this film will go way above most people’s heads and will leave them more confused than anything.  Should you want to see this film?  I think yes, you should.  If anything you should watch it just for it’s amazing cinematography.  I think everyone should go out and see the films of Sean Ellis.  Don’t just see this film, but make sure you check out his film “Cashback” as well.  He is a brilliant and relatively unknown filmmaker and I think we can expect big things from him in the future, and who knows; maybe somewhere down the road, Sean Ellis will get some funding and he could do a “re-boot” or “re-make” of “The Broken” to tie up any loose ends or clear up parts of the plot.


  1. There's a real mental illness that makes you think everyone in your life is an 'imposter' or other world doppleganger called Capgras Disorder. Wonder if that was one of the imterpretations of the plot.

    1. Oh they briefly talk about that in the Film, but it really wasnt focused on much