BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JANUARY 20, 2013
“Broken City” relies heavily on its seasoned cast, especially the leads, Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Jeffrey Wright, to hold this film together when the script is paper thin. Caught in a scheme of betrayal and murder, Wahlberg’s character, Billy Taggart, a former detective turned private investigator, is contacted by acquaintance Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) to follow his “cheating” wife, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. The women players are often glazed over, with Jones playing the victim, Taggart’s longtime girlfriend (Natalie Martinez), the naive actress, and Taggart’s assistant (Alona Tal) playing the attractive and last-minute/after-thought love interest.
Instead of burying its surprises, “Broken City” wears them on its sleeve, with revelations replaced by factors already in play that the audience is supposed to have forgotten. For example, the tape the Mayor has on Taggart. Are we supposed to conveniently forget this the entire film even though it’s introduced in the opening scenes? Built around a mayoral campaign, much like 2010’s “The Ides Of March,” which happened to do it much better, this film can reach past most of its shortcomings and still produce an entertaining thriller.
January 18, 2013
20th Century Fox
(for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence)