Written by / 1/28/2013 / No comments / , , , , , ,

BROKEN CITY

year: 2013 cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Griffin Dunne rating: **
New York is a broken city… Not only is this the film’s title but the opinion (during an anticipated debate) of incumbent Mayor Hostetler, who, played by Russell Crowe, is about as crooked as any cinematic politician hiding behind the promise of lower taxes, and more importantly, strives to win a fleeting election by use of shortcuts and manipulation.

We begin Mark Wahlberg's tough cop Billy Taggart at a crime scene with a dead body on the street – he winds up breezing through a murder trial and six years later Hostetler, a few days shy of the debate and election, needs Taggart – now a detective with his own dwindling agency – for some snooping around: the Mayor’s wife could be having an affair with someone from the other team.  

These are the most intriguing moments as the street savvy Taggart adheres to the basic yet involving task he’s given: Walhberg plays the gumshoe in a slow-burn Neo Noir fashion. It’s when a pivotal murder occurs that the film goes downhill, catapulting so many dull political maneuvers you’ll forget why Taggart’s there at all.

Russell Crowe’s crooked politician isn’t seedy enough to despise, nor is he the type of louse you love to hate. Bridled by shallow, talky scenes within his office, and eventually cornering Taggart with an anticlimactic blackmail scheme, by the end you’ll be hard-pressed on which character to root (or vote) for.
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