Broken 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.

To continue reading our review for the JDIFF Gala opener, click here.