Blu-ray Review: Broken City

Broken City BluraySTUDIO: Fox | DIRECTOR: Allen Hughes | CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Alona Tal
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 4/30/2013 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.99, DVD $29.98
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes, alternate ending, more
SPECS: R | 109 min. | Crime thriller | 2.40:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, Spanish and Italian subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

 

Like 2011’s Drive or Snitch from earlier this year, the crime thriller Broken City falls squarely into the neo-noir category, bearing a story of big city corruption, questionable characters whose moral compasses have gone askew, and a distinctive visual style to make the nefariousness all the more appealing to the eye.

Broken City movie scene

Russell Crowe (l.) and Mark Wahlberg talk it over in Broken City.

Colliding into the corruption head-on is Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg, Ted), a disgraced former NYPD cop turned private dick who’s enlisted by the mayor (a delightfully loathsome Russell Crowe) to trail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rock of Ages) to see if she’s cheating. The mayor’s motives run deeper, of course, and thus begins Billy’s sordid odyssey into ugly politics, extortion, blackmail and a ultimately a return to the evidence surrounding the murderous crime that forced him into retirement seven years earlier.

Working from first-time screenwriter Brian Tucker’s screenplay, director Allen Hughes (one-half of the filmmaking Hughes Brothers of Dead Presidents and Book of Eli fame), doesn’t let the increasingly convoluted story distract him from the real fun—he and DP Brian Seresin’s saturated, seamy visual depiction of NYC and its boroughs and the juice that the players can squeeze out of their tricky and frequently nasty predicaments. Notably, a breath of fresh air rises from the squalor in the form of Alona Tal, who perks up the screen as  Wahlberg’s blonde girl Friday.

Broken City certainly warrants a look-see—maybe not immediately, but it should go on the list—if for no other reason then to check out the top-notch cast digging into a genre that shows no signs of going away.

The Blu-ray bonus features include a lively half-hour making-of featurette filled with cast and crew interviews that reveal everyone had a good time amidst all the cinematic corruption.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.