Verdict: 3 / 5
Set in New York City at a time when elections govern everything, Broken City is loaded with schemes, tactics and promises that create a thick fog around justice, reasoning and truth. No one can be trusted, no secrets hidden and no strategies are too extreme. Winning is all that matters, winning at all costs.
Seven years after he was forced to resign, Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg), a former NYPD detective turned private eye, is hired by the NY City mayor (Russell Crowe) to investigate the presumed infidelity of his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Taggart assumes that this is just an ordinary and somewhat disappointing assignment and takes it on without a second thought. By the time the mayor’s true intentions are revealed Taggart is in deep water, and when a truth from his past is used to blackmail him into submission he is forced to risk it all to expose the truth.
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Broken City is a well-constructed film, fulfilling every element of a good crime thriller from good cinematography and editing to story line. Crowe plays a terrific political archetype including an out-of-date haircut and a sardonically sweet temperament that draws the utter fear and contempt from the character of Zeta-Jones. This dynamic brings great depth to their relationship and is very satisfying to watch. Wahlberg is as good as ever and with the collection of a great supporting cast aces his role.
The storyline is thick with detail so concentrate hard on the names and the quiet voiced conversations. It may prove to be one of those movies that every time you watch you discover more detail, connections and coincidences. If you only intend to watch it once it would be important for you to take this advice for your own sake: don’t have a glass of wine before you press play.