Film review: Broken (15)


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The Independent Culture

Rufus Norris's ensemble drama is a howl of pain from Broken Britain, where three middle-class families in a suburban close are tearing themselves apart. Much of it is seen through the tender gaze of 11-year-old Skunk (promising newcomer Eloise Laurence) as she copes with diabetes, bullying at school, and the defection of her mother from home.

Meanwhile, her dad (Tim Roth) is trying to deal with the "problem" family in the close, whose thuggish patriarch (Rory Kinnear) savagely assaults not one but two men falsely accused of sleeping with one of his unruly teenage brood.

The script by Mark O'Rowe forces a good cast through histrionic hoops: there's a violent incident or a hospital dash about every seven minutes, to the point where you think the ambulance and police van should just park in the close and wait for the next call – it would save everyone time.

By the end, it's like Brookside on speed, hurtling round corners from one crisis to another, barely able to catch its breath. O'Rowe has done good work before – Intermission, Boy A – but this nervous breakdown of a movie will be best forgotten.