BROKEN CITY: A Review by Salty Kernel, Dara Shashoua

Have you ever sat and watched a film and wondered if the actors knew how bad it was whilst they were filming it?

Or perhaps it was only realised when they watched the final cut and sat back and thought ‘Oh my god, this really is ordinary. What have I done? Will this be my last film? Is this how I’m going to be remembered?’


Broken City starring Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg
Broken City starring Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg


It may sound harsh but this film would be OK if you’re at home late on a Saturday night with nothing else to do, you flick through the channels and read the synopsis which would say something like this –

In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russel Crowe). (taken from IMDB, I can’t be bothered to rewrite it in my own words).


Broken City, Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones

And you would think to yourself ‘doesn’t look too bad’ so you watch it and it’s OK.

That’s what this film is. OK. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let’s break it down further actor by actor.


Broken City, Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones


Russel Crowe – Dude, way too much on the spray tan. You almost look as bad as the fashion designer Valentino or even an Oompah Loompah. And the hair??? You look like you are wearing a toupe and if someone actually touched your hair, such as in the throes of passion, it would come off in one piece. Seriously, I don’t really know what the wardrobe department was thinking. While you’re at it you should also hit them up about the shirt/cardigan combo you had going on. Not good buddy. My final comment to you will be that perhaps you need to hire a new vocal/accent coach because you still haven’t really nailed the American accent yet.

Mark Wahlberg – You seem to always be typecast as the guy from Brooklyn down on their luck who has to run to the aid of others whilst exacting revenge for whatever it was the got you down on your luck at the start of the movie. Man, you’ve got oodles of money and potential power (did someone mention Entourage?) you seem to be Executive Producer on everything you work on. Perhaps you should find a new story, truly I’m sick of seeing you as this guy, surely you’re sick of playing him. Oh, and I still haven’t forgiven you for that hideous job singing in Ted, we all know you have it in you to have given a better performance. Personally, I would have loved a rendition of Good Vibrations.

Catherine Zeta Jones – firstly, what happened to your face? You used to be amazingly beautiful but now it seems you may have succumbed to the Hollywood ideal of thinking that Botox really enhances how you look. It doesn’t. Your performance is passable as Rusty’s wife but its no Velma Kelly from Chicago is it? Your wardrobe is pretty magnificent though, so the costume department did get something right.

Jeffrey Wright – You play the Chief of Police. Could you have been more wooden? You had the best line of the entire film and yet that was even lost on the delivery. In fact, Pinocchio was less wooden than you.


Broken City, Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones


I understand that I am being a tad harsh, but seriously I am getting a bit sick of films that are just a bit meh. Broken City is a mediocre film at best. I do get annoyed that studios pour money into films and actors that are just not good and expect us to pay close to $20 to watch them. Film should add something to your daily existence, it should affect you somehow. You invest time and money to go to a cinema and in return you should be able to escape from the pressures of every day life to be transported into the world that is created. So often films are being made that do nothing to achieve this and don’t even seem to try, unfortunately Broken City is one of these films.

Make some effort Hollywood, not all films have to be Oscar worthy but stop pretending that your audience is stupid.

Broken City gets a 2 out of 10 from me. Broken City releases March 7th in most commercial cinemas.