Eleven year old Skunk lives with her brother, father and housekeeper in a cul-de-sac populated by only a few families. Hers is not the only family touched by tragedy (Mom has run away). Neighbour Bob Oswald's wife has died, leaving him to raise his three hellion daughters. Mr and Mrs Buckley live with their brain damaged adult son Rick across the street.
Skunk witnesses a violent attack on Rick by neighbour Bob who is convinced that Rick has sexually assaulted one of his daughters. That attack seems to be a catalyst, triggering a chain of events that impacts every resident of the cul-de-sac. But none more than Skunk. Her naivete is slowly eroded by the anger she witnesses both outside of her home and within - the housekeeper and her boyfriend have a tumultuous relationship. Skunk makes tentative overtures into exploring her own burgeoning sexuality, but is exposed to more than an eleven year old needs to see. The violence continues to escalate, following her to school and eventually erupting on that dead end street.
Each and every character in Broken is, well, broken. Norris explores the human condition through the dysfunctional relationships portrayed. But also through the good and positive as well. Themes of love, hate, forgiveness, loss, hope, friendship, bullying, mental illness and more are explored.
You could draw many parallels between To Kill a Mockingbird and Broken - Scout/Skunk, fathers who are lawyers, a minority being persecuted and a loss of innocence. But Norris puts his own stamp on things in Broken. I started out feeling one way about a number of the characters and found my reactions and thoughts turned around by the end.
Eloise Laurence is new to acting, but I predict she has a future in the biz. She was wonderfully unaffected and realistic. Each and every actor involved was excellent. Norris effectively uses single, isolated shots of the principles, underlining their isolation.
I thought Broken was truly an excellent film. Not easy to watch by any means - I did stop it two or three times to get up and come back in a few minutes, but one that was absolutely riveting. Five stars.
United Kingdom. 2012. 90 min. Drama. English
As always, Film Movement includes a short with their main feature. The Way the World Ends again manipulates our perception, starting off with what seems to be a light premise and turning into something altogether different. And it paired well with Broken.