Friday, December 27, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Broken City

2013, Allen Hughes (From Hell, The Book of Eli) -- download

Allen seems to have left his twin behind and also left genre movies, for a straight up, crime movie. The stylish appeal of their other movies is a bit there, a little bit, maybe a smidgen but for the most part this is recognizable, dyed in the wool, New York crime and politics melodrama as only a city like New York, and maybe LA, can do.

(Marky) Mark Wahlberg is Billy Taggart, your typical rough shod cop who commits a crime of punishment against a murder-rapist. Russel Crowe is the mayor who makes him a deal -- he will hide the incriminating evidence if he just walks away from the force. And, and this is the particular detail that makes the plot of the movie, Taggart owes the mayor a future favour. Faustian !  Faustian you say? No, as Crowe's Hostetler is a pretty low rent Lucifer, more a money grubbing son of a bitch who enjoys using people. He would be good friends with a certain other mayor in our lives.

Taggart is a broken cop. He should never have taken the deal, and while he makes a living as a low rent (low rent is a theme here) private dick, he is full of misplaced anger and resentment. Crow is a broken mayor, all deceit and corruption, hating his wife and his employees and just about everyone around him. Everyone around him is broken in some way, from the gay (i'm not gay!) opposing mayoral candidate (Barry Pepper) to Crowe's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to the Police Commissioner (Jeffrey Wright) doing his best wobbly attempt at the straight and narrow. With a bit of more style, this could have been a very good noir pic but in the end, she just sits as a low rent crime movie that was passably enjoyable.