Directed by Shaun Robert Smith
Starring Morjana Alaoui, Mel Radio, Craig Conway and Stephanie Thomas
Indie Film Review by Bailey Claringbold
John (Mel Radio) is at the 'turning point' of his life. After a severe accident the ex-musician is left tetraplegic, finding it difficult to deal with his life. His new carer, Evie (Morjana Alaoui), is unsure of whether she can keep helping him, struggling to sleep at night and being constantly tested. It's only a matter of time before somebody cracks.
Indie film Broken took me completely by surprise. The performances were absolutely incredible, especially from Radio and Alaoui. The pair played off each other very well, which helped to draw me in at the intense and painful moments, and made me laugh at the lighter moments scattered throughout the story. Radio gave one of the strongest turns I've seen recently. He managed to convey the torment and agony John felt perfectly. Alaoui's performance went hand in hand with Radio's, with some tear-jerking monologues and line delivery. Although the supporting cast only had a few minutes of screen time, they fleshed out John's character and the story.
Broken's screenplay was just as powerful as its performances, with some truly terrifying and heart-wrenching scenes, offering twist after twist. Following the course of a week, the structure of the narrative helped to push the film along, whilst keeping it grounded and made you feel for Evie and understand the constant battle she faced. Although the week long structure wasn't particularly fresh it was something that set it apart from other movies, the spin made it feel original somehow. The story managed get more and more compelling as it went on, which is not easy to achieve.
The cinematography was beautiful. Every shot was carefully planned to elicit the most emotion, which made for some genuinely frightening and gripping moments. The use of over-the-shoulder shots and close-ups were effective in showing the character's feelings and their relationship. I enjoyed how the scenes with darker themes warranted darker lighting and tones, taking place at night time, as opposed to say the opening credits which are much more vibrant and light.
In terms of the soundtrack, it mirrored the emotion of the scenes throughout. Although it wasn't especially memorable it did go along with the film well. The opening track was definitely the best one as it started off relatively bouncy and cheerful, which was the initial tone of the film.
Broken is one of those unexpected hidden gems, with a chilling story and exceedingly good performances. I can only nit-pick its flaws, as it is a nicely crafted and technically superb film. Broken did not disappoint.