OF the good moments in Brian Tucker’s debut screenplay for producer/director Allen Hughes in this New York-based political melodrama, the closing minute or so gives best satisfaction.
Russell Crowe plays mayor Hostetler, seeking re-election so he can finagle an urban redevelopment program that will bring him great wealth. Seven years ago, Hostetler pulled strings to get cop Billy (Mark Wahlberg) acquitted of murdering a drug mule. Now, as an election looms, it’s time for Billy, now a private investigator, to return the favour by photographing Mrs Hostetler (Catherine Zeta-Jones) with a lover. That man is Paul (Kyle Chandler) who is also campaign manager for Hostetler’s opponent Valliant (Barry Pepper).
Much in “Broken City” is not what it at first seems. The plot unravels at a measured pace that works hard to deliver good credibility.
The film might not have taken harm from tighter editing, but that would have deprived us of some views of aspects of the city not often depicted in movies. Hughes seems to have a passion for the elegant Brooklyn Bridge, opened in 1883 and today carrying much more traffic across the Hudson River than its designer John Roebling could have imagined. But that’s another story.
Allen and Tucker have made something superior to a potboiler, a parable about the hazards that the structure of modern communities imposes on those ambitious to govern them. A strong cast delivers a satisfying credibility in its examination of plot issues that are par for the genre – money, power, jealousy, honesty, violence, death, political venality.
At Hoyts and Limelight