Film Review: Broken

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Reviewed by Louisa Wu

Edited by Crystal Abidin

Film: Broken
Director: Rufus Norris
Running Time: 91 minutes
Year of Release: 2012
Language: English

The world as it is through the eyes of a child

In Broken, we see the world as it is through the eyes of a child – broken.

Directed by acclaimed theatre director, Rufus Norris, Broken follows the aftermath of a violent incident that occurs in a fairly peaceful suburban cul-de-sac. After a terrified young girl, Susan Oswald (Rosalie Kosky-Hensman) impulsively accuses her troubled neighbour, Rick Buckley (played with precision by Robert Emms) of a crime he did not commit, her hot-tempered father (Rory Kinnear) attacks him. From the side of the curb, Skunk watches.

Skunk is played by the absolutely delightful Eloise Laurence. While observing how the community has been affected by the violent incident, Skunk is also beginning to navigate her early teenage years. She starts a new school and encounters threats from the antagonistic Oswald girls; watches people she looks up to fall in and out of love; and realises that sometimes bad things happen to good people when she visits her neighbour Rick, with whom she shares an affinity, in hospital.

Despite witnessing a tragic incident that shakes up the entire cul-de-sac community and realising that being a teenager isn’t that great, Skunk’s world is ultimately filled with warmth and love. Eloise Laurence shares several scenes with Tim Roth and there is this wonderful familiarity and closeness that both actors portray as daughter and father. One of the most touching moments in the film occurs when Skunk asks her father to recount her day of birth before finishing the story herself – it’s a story she’s heard many times before and brings her comfort.

The soundtrack, composed by Blur frontman, Damon Albarn, is also particularly whimsical and light. It wonderfully reflects Skunk’s playful nature, her mischievousness, her curiosity, and her attempt to make sense of the world.

Ultimately Broken is a film about a fractured and changing world, and with the belief that somewhere out there is goodness, Skunk takes the pieces, puts them back together and adapts.   

Broken opens Monday 15 May 2013 at Luna Leederville.