December 5, 2009

Broken (2007)

Broken is one of the first releases through Dimension's new Extreme label, so I wasn’t expecting anything along the lines of When a Stranger Calls. I also wasn’t expecting to be watching a well acted, good looking grisly son of a bitch either; but that is what I got. Well, not the When a Strange Calls part, but definitely the latter.

This movie hooked me right from the shocking opening credit sequence, and didn’t really let up until its wonderful ending; one that I can honestly say that you won’t see coming.

The story is pretty straightforward; a single mother, Hope, goes home to bed after a date only to wake up buried alive inside a makeshift coffin with no recollection of how she got there.

From here on in things only get worse for Hope as she is soon introduced to her captor, known only as The Man. The Man pushes Hope to her physical and mental limit to see if she will break, or whether she will accept her situation and succumbs to whatever it is that he wants.

Initially, of course, she resists which only results in the infliction of more suffering upon her. As time wears on though she starts to manipulate the situation to her benefit, although the whole time she is frantic for knowledge as to the whereabouts and welfare of her daughter, of whom she hasn’t seen since she got home from the date.

Broken is a savage movie that never really explains the motives of The Man, which for me only added to the desperate atmosphere created by the situation. Is he doing it for pleasure, or some higher purpose? Why did he choose her?

At times it is incredibly violent, you’ll wince quite a few times whilst watching this, but that never gets in the way of the relationship between captive and captor. This is down to great performances from the two leads; Eric Colvin as the cold calculated captor, and Nadja Brand as the target of his malice. The only time the movie suffered for me was with the introduction of another captive, who intentionally, was as annoying as fuck.

This is also a beautifully shot movie, the use of light and darkness during some of the scenes contrasting perfectly and further adding to the atmosphere.

No doubt Broken will get lumped in with the so-called, and fucking horrendously named, torture porn genre, thanks in part to a misleading quote on the cover which claims that it makes Saw look like a children’s film. The fact of the matter is that it is worlds away from the games of Jigsaw in its tone and style. Sure, you could see the odd similarity in terms of the odd scene of violence, but these are two totally different entities. For me I look at the Saw flicks as fun, Broken is not fun at all, bloody good for sure, but not fun. The violence in this movie will be felt by the viewer that is for sure.

If you like movies that don’t give you all the answers then I heartily recommend this quality English movie; Writer/directors Adam Mason and Simon Boyes are names to keep an eye on in the future.

Visceral, emotional and shocking, this is one impulse purchase that I am glad I picked up.

Rating: 3 stars

Review by Jude Felton

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