This is something special. The opening movie of the JDIFF is powerful stuff and one of the most engaging dramas you'll see this year.
Skunk (Laurence) is a twelve-year-old with type one diabetes living in a cul de sac with solicitor dad Archie (Roth) and older brother Jed (Bill Milner). Skunk's sheltered world falls apart when best friend Rick (Robert Emms), an older boy with learning difficulties, is accused by neighbourhood bad egg Bob Oswald (Kinnear) of sexually abusing one of his three teenage daughters, the youngest of whom bullies Skunk at school.
Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy, playing Skunk's teacher and boyfriend to her nanny (Zana Marjanovic), are their dependable selves but it's the younger cast - the three ASBOs-in-waiting Oswald teens (Nell Tiger Free, Martha Bryant and Faye Devaney) and the unhinged Emms – that steal the show. As good as they are, however, they're put in the shade by newcomer Laurence; her goofy smile is somewhere between childhood innocence and the impending ugliness of maturity.
Broken (as in we're all in some way broken) likes to peel the onion. Rory Kinnear's approach might be fists first/ask questions later but there are layers to his struggling dad and everyone else - not everyone is as bad or as together as they make out. There might be more going on in this street than in a season of Brookside but writer Mark O'Rowe (Intermission), adapting Daniel Clay's novel, is exploring the Babel/Inarritu theme of globalisation, trimming it back to a more manageable and believable scale like a neighbourhood cul-de-sac. Regardless of what you might make of your father or brother or ‘that lot' across the road, we're all in this together.
It's not all doom and gloom, though: there's a running gag with airborne bags of poo, a black kid dances alone in the school car park for some reason and Skunk's reluctance to succumb to the ‘charms' of the new boy (George Sargeant, another newcomer and another sterling turn) has to be the cutest romance this year.
Take a chance, go see this. You won't regret it.
Review by Gavin Burke | 11:19 | Monday 11th February 2013 | Movie Review
Have to agree, I was lucky enough to see this at the London Film Festival and it was easily my favourite film there (and the only one to score a spontaneous round of applause from the crowd). A great story, with characters you really care about, this was a wonderful surprise. Perhaps not the most cinematic of films, this belies its small screen feel with a big screen heart and packs in more emotion than a dozen lesser films. I can't wait to see it again - thankfully, I'm going tonight !Posted 16:15 | Thu 14th Feb 2013
Saw this at the opener of the Dublin International Film Festival with Murphy and Roth in attendance. What a great film, love everything about it. Roth can't act bad if he tries. Saw both Made in Britain and Meantime again recently and the guy is a Great, no question. He delivers again a totally believable performance and the on screen father, daughter relationship with Skunk is something to behold. Bit of trivia, Skunk's real life mother played the disturbed guy's mother in the film. Can't recommend this one enough.Posted 11:38 | Sat 9th Mar 2013
Yeah, Broken is a great film. It reminded me of Submarine - another striking debut. There are so many new films opening at the moment that a little gem like Broken could get lost in the crush. I hope that doesn't happen.Posted 20:29 | Sat 9th Mar 2013
entertainment.ie and RTE are the only 2 websites are giving this 5 stars , in guardian it is 2 stars and in other english sites such as daily it is 3 stars only !!Posted 10:48 | Sun 10th Mar 2013
have not seen this film yet mixed reviews so farPosted 19:23 | Sun 10th Mar 2013
Great script by Mark O' Rowe. Brilliant film.Posted 20:31 | Sun 10th Mar 2013
It is impossible to call this film anything less than superb. It is heartwarming yet brutal in it's realism. It may be a little bit too disturbing for most people's tastes but its a shame if that clouds anyone's perception of seeing it for the gem it is.Posted 00:49 | Mon 11th Mar 2013
What can I say except this is a terrible film? Maybe I should I read the review above more closely and noticed it involves a character called skunk. A precious irritating child whose growing pains make Adrian Mole look like an idyllic childhood. We get to see Skunk explore her world as she broadens her horizons hanging around a scrap yard to music straight out of Blue Peter. She then hooks up with a young fellah who cant act. Maybe thats a mercy as I couldnt decipher when he mumbled his hammy dialogue. The estate she grows up in has sufficient wrecks anyway, with the neighbours from hell flaking the daylights out whoever the trollop of a daughter accuses of violating her. This is where the movie really grates; all the odd balls in it with their efforts to communicate go around in circles and end up shouting and swearing. Towards the end when it is touch and go the film wanders into the world of Terrence Malick as we get a glimpse of the other side. This movie tries so much it actives so little.Posted 22:59 | Wed 13th Mar 2013
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