Directed by: #ImmanuelDube
Written by: #SophieSmart
Short Film Review by #ChrisBuick
Based on the real-life story of a couple known to the film's writer Sophie Smart, #shortfilm Broken tells the heart-breaking tale of David and Amanda, a couple trying desperately to hold on to whatever is left of their relationship while they continue to struggle in their efforts to conceive a child.
Having undergone three rounds of in vitro fertilisation already and now facing the daunting expense of a fourth, they are desperate for something or someone to give them even a chance of hope. But when their doctor informs them that their chance at a happy ending is highly unlikely at their age, the devastation of that news leads to a downward spiral that could pull them apart for good.
Smart and Dube had worked on a project together previously (Smart was art director on 2018 short film Virtual Brutality with Dube taking on boom operator duties for the same film), but Broken marks their first true collaboration as filmmakers in their own right, with Broken being their debut outing as writer and director respectively. And while both do show great promise in their roles, there are a few bolts that could do with tightening here and there.
First and foremost, there isn’t actually any aspect of Broken that is...well...broken. The camerawork, the editing, the performances, they all undoubtedly achieve their purpose, but it’s all very, very functional, almost clinical, with nary a bell or whistle in sight. The sound mixing is perhaps the weakest link here, as scratchy static becomes an obvious and unwelcome nuisance, most notably in the beginning but does persist throughout when not masked by the films subtle score.
However, Smart and Dube shouldn’t worry as it's clear that with time, practice and determination, their obvious potential will come to fruition. What’s important is that they have made sure that the aspect of the film that does stand out is the part that matters most; the story. This extremely delicate (and frankly under-represented) topic is handled with an applaudable sense of grace and sensitivity and while one could argue that it maybe could have dug a little bit deeper, the writing combined with a pair of decent performances from both Price and Daly it still manages strike the right chord.
Broken manages to do everything it sets out to do with a decent amount of efficiency, but never really threatens to set the world on fire at any point. That being said, it manages to handle its import subject matter with a commendable amount of respect and compassion. For first time filmmakers, both Smart and Dube have shown that they might have a knack for storytelling and with persistence the rest should naturally fall into place.