My notes on a film I liked less than other festgoers.
This is the second FrightFest film called Broken I’ve hated – the first was Adam Mason’s in 2006. I kind of liked The Broken in 2008, though. A mash-up of Who’s Life is It Anyway and Repulsion, it coops up in a drab house a pair of antagonistic characters: Evie (Morjana Alaoui), a French carer who is the survivor of child abuse, and John (Mel Radio), a former musician who’s a tetraplegic after jumping off a roof while tripping. It grates from the opening as John whines and shouts and nags over an intercom while Evie stirs from sleep, and at least does an effective job of conveying what it’s like to look after someone spiralling into despair who makes no attempt to adjust to disability and is furthermore stuck with old mates who come round to party with him and treat the nurse like home help. However, as implausibilities pile up – like Evie not reporting to her boss that the client’s best friend Douggie (Craig Conway) repeatedly threatens and assaults her – sympathy for the characters, and the film, is stretched beyond breaking point. It takes a while for Evie to snap, and we get monologues from both characters as they try to one-up each other on tragic misery backstories, but the last reel has her use the shotgun Douggie has procured for John’s (inept) suicide attempt to wipe out a whole partyload of hangers-on before offing John, whom she sees as her abusive father (they both nickname her ‘princess’) and the NHS sub-contractor (Patrick Toomey) who has let this go on all week. Written by Conway and director Shaun Robert Smith. Originally titled The Myth of Hopelessness.
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