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"Broken City" Review

For some reason, Hollywood keeps making potboiler thrillers about corruption in New York's City Hall set in an alternate universe version of NYC where the Mayor isn't someone everyone is aware of by default. While fictional Presidents have always happened and not felt weird (though it's gotten more political in the past 15 years; face it, 24's David Palmer is why Obama is President; people thought he'd be like the TV version; whoops!), the four men who ran NYC over the past 36 years (Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, Bloomberg) are so familiar, it just seems nuts to pretend Al Pacino or Russell Crowe is living in Gracie Mansion.

Anyhoo, in Broken City, Mayor Gladiator hires small-time private detective Marky Mark to follow his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) whom he suspects is having an affair. Marky used to be a cop until a shooting under sketchy circumstances ended his career 7 years earlier, but connected him to the mayor, which is why he was brought in. With election day coming and a strong challenge based on populist class-warfare rhetoric by City Councilman Barry Pepper, Marky is under pressure to find out what the wife is up to in time. However, she catches on to her being tailed and warns Marky that things aren't what they seem. Of course not.

With a convoluted script about shady real estate dealings and mostly flat performances with the exception of Crowe (who's weirdly random) and Jeffrey Wright (who seems to know he's in a crappy movie and goes for it), Broken City just goes nowhere slowly. Subplots about Marky's actress girlfriend ring false and his relationship with his Girl Friday (a spunky Alona Tal, who was Jo on Supernatural) at the end seems tacked on needlessly. Marky is too deadpan and the rest of the cast is wasted.

Score: 4/10. Skip it.


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