Mini-Review Round-Up January 2013

So here we are again starting a new Mini-Review Round-Up. This one is kicking off later in the year due to a more prevalent slate of Gray Area releases and early 2013 Theatrical screenings.

Here’s my standard intro to this post:

I had quite a review drought to end 2011 so I think the remedy for this kind of post would be to have the post be cumulative monthly. Therefore, after each qualifying film a short write-up will be added to the monthly post. The mini-reviews will be used to discuss Netflix and other home video screenings. Theatrical releases, regardless of how they are seen whether in an auditorium or on VOD, will get full reviews [That is when deemed necessary. As I wrote here I do want to focus more on non-review writing wherever possible].

For a guide to what scores mean go here.


Broken (2012, Film Movement)

I have quite often discussed how I love Film Movement’s Film of the Month Club. Usually when citing this fact I do so with a mind to the packaging of a short and a feature. However, as the previous year’s BAM Awards indicate I also have an affinity for a number of the titles they pick up, as The Dynamiter, Corpo Celeste, Found Memories and Amador all earned nominations. Well, that affinity has grown in leaps and bounds as their last two selections were films I was eagerly anticipating namely Clandestine Childhood and now Broken.

This is a film that, aside from being the opening selection during Critics’ Week at Cannes and winning the Grand Prix at the Odessa Film Festival, was also nominated for nine British Independent Film Awards, A European Film Award and two awards at the London Film Festival; so it made a bit of hay that made me intrigued to see it.

I am glad to say that after all that hullabaloo I was not let down in the least, quite the opposite; Broken is the first great new film of the year that I’ve had the pleasure of watching. It’s an intricately told and layered tale that with many narrative threads, characters crossing paths, that could get trite, but is instead invigorating and riveting.

There are frames within the film and excellent persistent use of cross-cutting that acutely accesses the proper emotional tenor that is sought, which finds the commonality in these characters so frequently at odds. In certain ways, it’s like an externalized version of We Need to Talk About Kevin, in terms of the way it’s cut together and how the actors have to truly use the edit to great affect.

It’s what I like to term a “collision course narrative,” which is a tale wherein there’s a suspenseful foreboding to the meeting of certain events that you feel, and it’s perhaps the best example of such I’ve seen. It’s also a film that starts strong and never really lets go.

Membership in the Film Club means I’m watching it a few months ahead of most people, therefore you have ample time to heed my advice: watch Broken, it is an absolutely exquisite piece of cinema.