Movie Review: Broken City

Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate.

Jean-Paul’s rating: 3/5 stars

Every politician’s corrupt.  Some of them just happen to do good along the way. “Broken City” is a perfectly adequate film about corruption at the highest levels of New York City if you don’t do something stupid like think about it too much.  I, however, suffer from the rare disease of thought.  I will try not to let that spoil my review.

Billy Taggert is a good cop.  No, wait, strike that.  Billy Taggert is a dirty cop.  No, that’s not right either.  Billy Taggert is just a cop.  A cop who just killed a suspect in cold blood.  That suspect almost assuredly raped and killed a girl, though.  The evidence of Billy’s crime is hidden from the public by the mayor and the chief of police.  Billy is not tried for murder as a result.  Billy’s career as a police officer, however, is still over.

Fast forward seven years.  Billy’s now a private investigator doing what private investigators do.  Mostly, that’s taking pictures of people who don’t want their pictures taken and making collection calls to people who hired you.  He is helped by a secretary that is obviously in love with him.  You get the feeling that Billy is oblivious to this fact.  Maybe because he has a girlfriend.

Billy’s new client is Mayor Hostetler.  In the middle of election season, the mayor suspects that his wife is having an affair.  Hostetler wants Billy to track her down and find out who it is.  Why the mayor doesn’t just attach a tracking device to her city provided Suburban or ask her city provided bodyguard is beyond me.  Obviously, there couldn’t be a movie otherwise.

Billy finds the suspected paramour and is inadvertently drawn into a web of murder, corruption, and lies.  Shocking, I know.  This is where you will be better off not thinking.  I won’t spoil anything, but if you just go along for the ride, it’s kind of fun.  There’s a decent amount of tension as you try to figure who’s who and what’s what and which tab A is being inserted into which slot B.

What I think I liked most about this movie is that there aren’t any good guys.  The city is broken because everyone in it is broken.  Everyone is broken because life has a way of breaking you and two broken people don’t necessarily make a whole person.  What I liked least about the movie was the lack of an impactful takedown scene.  Everyone gets what’s coming to them, but it should have been more cinematically compelling.

As an afterthought, this movie was also run through with misogyny in a way that kind of bothered me.  It’s not that the misogyny was in the movie that bothered me so much.  It’s that the misogyny was just thrown in there.  It didn’t seem to be used as a vehicle for showing how bad people are.  It was more thrown in as a “Women!  Am I right fellas?” thing.  Yuck.

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