Despite the ugly paths this film storms down, Broken is a beautiful film and is worthy of its triumphant win for Best Film of 2012 at the British Independent Film Awards.
With an underline objective of highlighting the grit that falls between family cracks, Broken follows a series of tangled tales of the dysfunctional households that froth from behind the doors and explode on to the little stage of a north London cul-de-sac. It has the dramatics that an old episode of Brookside dreamed of becoming when it grew up – minus the Liverpudlians.
There’s a strong element of class clash tactfully spun and so very reflective of London life. The middle class sharing their postman with the dole queue dependants and the dole queue dependents scoffing at the ‘pikeys’. They all live synonymously in varying degrees of tolerance, pity, fear and repulsion which transcends into dramatic hilarity, sorrow and tragedy.
The star is 11 year-old Skunk, named in ode to the famously shiny-headed Miss Anansie, a typical inbetweener kid whose naïve charms land her troubles she’s physically and emotionally little unequipped to deal with. Skunk’s life takes a change for the disastrous after she witnesses something you only read about in Monday’s edition of The Metro.
Her relationship with dad Archie (Tim Roth), is one of genuine kinship – they work together as well as pork and pastry
Skunk (Eloise Laurence) is at the core of a loving family splintered by an absent mother. We witness her encounters in the a-typical endeavors nervy pubescents tackle in order to graduate in the university of hard knock life; boys, bullying, watching your neighbor smack the eyebrows off the not-quite-right guy at number 65 with a yellow bucket…that kind of thing.
Her relationship with dad Archie (Tim Roth), is one of genuine kinship – they work together as well as pork and pastry and Eloise’s debut performance has already won her a nod for Best British Newcomer at the London Film Festival. And rightly so – she’s the butter on the bread of this hearty film.
Eloise was quite literally born for the screen, her acting genetics (her dad is EastEnder Larry Lab who played Archie) have helped her twinkle as bright as the other cluster of stunning stars who cast in this tale including the fair-faced Cillian Murphy (Inception, The Dark Night), Rory Kinnear, (Skyfall, Quantum Of Solace) and the troubled Robert Emms (War Horse, Anonymous).
Broken is not exactly laugh-a-minute but the crafty croutons of humor that do arise offer a refreshing uplift and a genuine chuckle from an otherwise grim ride. The orignal book, by Daniel Clay, has swabs of satire which artfully come through in this cinematic rendition and as book-to-screen adaptations go, this film has honoured the excellence of the original page-turner nicely.
(Released date TBC)
Director: Rufus Norris
Writers: Mark O’Rowe (screenplay), Daniel Clay (novel)
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth and Rory Kinnear