In Broken City, Mark Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, an ex-New York cop, who is now working as a private investigator. He is called in by mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) to investigate his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who Hostetler suspects is having an affair. However, it turns out that this investigation might be part of a larger conspiracy, of which the mayor is front and centre. I don’t really know what to think of this film. It’s not bad per se, but it wasn’t particularly interesting. These types of political thrillers have been done so many times that it’s hard to keep count. The film follows a paint-by-numbers plot that did not really feature any twists and turns I didn’t already see coming. In other words, it’s the typical film that comes out around this time of year.
However, there is one thing about this film that stands out in my mind and that’s the subplot involving Taggart and his girlfriend Natalie (Natalie Martinez). Natalie is an aspiring actress and is starring in a new “indie film.” There is a scene where Taggart and Natalie go to the premiere of the film and Taggart is shocked by the amount of sexual content in the film, which results in him relapsing into alcoholism and breaking up with Natalie, who is never seen again for the rest of the film. This section of the film stands out for me because of how unnecessary it is to the overall plot of the film. The scene is really an excuse for Taggart to relapse into alcoholism, which was really only revealed a couple scenes prior. While Natalie and her family does factor greatly into Taggart’s backstory, she is not at all a well-developed character and her subplot could easily have been excised from the film. However, I do have to admit that Natalie’s film does comes off as an interesting parody of arthouse cinema, since it starts off with a sweet romantic scene, which progresses into an almost pornographic sex scene. It seemed like this film-within-the-film was somewhat played off for humour and as an excuse add some gratuitous sex to the film. The fact that I am most interested in a scene that takes up, no more than, five minutes of screen time probably sums up my feelings on Broken City more than anything. It’s a not a very original or interesting thriller and time is better spent seeing other films.5 | INDIFFERENT