Movie Number 20
TitleThe Broken (2008)
Running Time– 93 minutes (“R”)
Director– Sean Ellis
Writer– Sean Ellis
Starring– Lena Headey, Richard Jenkins, Melvil Poupaud, Michelle Duncan and Asier Newman

(Originally an IP Movies Review)

The Broken manages an Invasion of the Body Snatchers feel from the beginning, which works throughout most of the movie, but the fizzles out toward the end. Gina McVey (Lena Headey – 300, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles), a successful radiologist, watches her life begin to crumble when she sees an exact image of herself driving through the streets of London. She follows this woman, but can find no answer to who she is. On the drive home she gets into a terrible head-on collision, landing her in the hospital. Once she is recovered enough to go home, she takes up lodging at her boyfriend, Stefan Chambers’ (Melvil Poupaud) apartment. Once there, she notices changes in her boyfriend, and is worried that he isn’t who he says he is. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers inspiration then becomes clear.

The Broken does a lot right: mood and atmosphere, acting, and directing. The plot, though, suffers at the end, and the story seems incomplete. Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers, Let Me In) gives a great performance as John McVey, Gina’s father. Jenkins is generally a wonderful actor in whatever he does, and The Broken benefits greatly from his presence. Lena Headey handles her leading role with ease, and keeps the audience interested in her character for the length of the film.

Writer and director Sean Ellis finds an effective way to use mirrors through The Broken. The symbolism is clear, but doesn’t smack the viewer in the face, which is important. Unfortunately the story Ellis has written concludes with no payoff. The audience will be left wondering what, why, and how did this happen? It’s almost as if The Broken is setting up for a sequel, but I’m not sure Sean Ellis could sustain this story through another 90 minute screenplay. Ellis sets up an engaging tale, but then refuses to share the secret he obviously knows with the audience.

Even with its imperfect ending, The Broken is still a movie worth watching, and the stronger of the two films on the disc. The atmosphere is dark and mysterious, and can remind people why they enjoy the thriller/horror genre. The Broken thrives on the science fiction vibe, and the viewer can tell that something isn’t right from the beginning. The Broken is one of the better After Dark Horrorfest films and makes a strong case for owning this discount Blu-ray release.

 

 

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Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions

Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.