Friday, January 18, 2013
We last saw Russell Crowe as an honest French policeman, but in Broken City, he's a corrupt and dirty politician - and I have to say, the role definitely suits him. Mark Wahlberg plays an ex-cop that gets used by NYC Mayor Hostetler (Crowe), and decides he's about had enough of him. Catherine Zeta-Jones is Crowe's wife, though they've been emotionally estranged for some time; even so, with the mayoral election around the corner, she must play the doting wife so that he can beat newcome Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper) to remain the mayor.
Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) has been a private investigator for the past seven years, since Mayor Hostetler essentially fired him from his job after he was embroiled in a murder scandal back then, even though he was pronounced not guilty. He's been with his girlfriend, Natalie (Natalie Martinez), for about the same amount of time, and he met her while on the job - her sister was raped and killed at a blighted government housing development that the mayor has just sold to a private housing company, which means all of its residents will soon be relocated. The mayor pays Billy $50,000 - half now and half when the job is complete - to spy on his wife and see who she is having an affair with, and Billy can't turn down the money; he soon finds out that the man is Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler), the campaign manager for Jack Valliant, Hostetler's opponent. What Billy doesn't know, however, is that the mayor has played him - yet again - and when Billy finds this out, he wants revenge.
I thought overall the movie was good, but there were some holes that were never really filled. Billy and his girlfriend break up in the middle of the movie because he has started drinking again, and then we never see her in the rest of the movie at all; kind of makes you wonder what the point of her role was. He goes to see her parents, who still live in the housing development where her sister was murdered, and he lies to them and says that things with he and Natalie are fine - and that's the last we see or hear from her.
However, both Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe are fantastic in their roles, and Catherine Zeta-Jones is great as well, as the wife who wants out of her marriage. Alona Tal, Kyle Chandler, and Jeffrey Wright all have supporting roles as well, and Barry Pepper was good as Crowe's political opponent. Therefore - yes, see this movie. The plot is set up very nicely in that it keeps you guessing until the very end, and there's a few twists that you might not have seen coming as well. This film might not win any awards for cohesiveness, but the ending was satisfying, and it reminded me a little bit of The Ides of March as well with all of its political scandals and lies, too.
Broken City is in theaters today, January 18th, and is rated R with a runtime of 109 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.