A neo-noir about a New York City private eye who gets pulled into a shady mayoral election.









Movie Reviews:
  • 75
    Philadelphia Inquirer - by Steven Rea
    Wahlberg does what Wahlberg does, bringing muscular conviction to his troubled, tough-guy role. The city may be broken, but the movie star's formula is working fine. ...

  • 75
    Chicago Sun-Times - by Richard Roeper
    It's pretty trashy and sometimes stupid. But there was never a moment when I wasn't entertained on one level or another. ...

  • 70
    New York Magazine (Vulture) - by Bilge Ebiri
    It is a movie that's alive in its own way, and a welcome surprise in a genre sorely lacking in them of late. more

  • 67
    Austin Chronicle - by Leah Churner
    Hughes creates a white-knuckle scene from a mayoral debate about zoning policy. You could've heard a Skittle drop in the packed house screening I attended. That, and Broken City's terrifyingly realistic car chase – another throwback to vintage Hughes – are alone worth the price of admission. more

  • 67
    Entertainment Weekly - by Owen Gleiberman
    The truth is that we're way past being outraged by these sorts of Crimes of the One Percent, not because they don't happen, but because the real version is so much more interesting. more

  • 63
    Movie Nation - by Roger Moore
    Director Allen Hughes ("The Book of Eli") hides the secrets well and stages a good fight and chase. But what's most entertaining about Brian Tucker's script is the lived-in feel it has. more

  • 63
    Chicago Tribune - by Michael Phillips
    For an hour or so, aided by the autumnal glow of Ben Seresin's cinematography, director Hughes maintains a firm handle on the story's turnabouts. Then the script goes a little nuts with coincidence and improbability. more

  • 60
    Total Film - by Kevin Harley
    Broken? Not quite, but certainly damaged. City offers star power, dashes of dazzle and plenty of movie nods. But Hughes’ thriller fails to locate a life of its own. more

  • 60
    Time Out New York - by A.A. Dowd
    Broken City never asks its gumshoe to repent for the blood on his own hands, and the anticorruption - but pro-vigilantism - ethics here are especially murky. more

  • 60
    NPR - by Mark Jenkins
    As an investigation into American municipal corruption, Broken City is, well, damaged. But as an opportunity for hard-boiled types to trade threats, blows and caustic banter, this modern-day noir works reasonably well. more

  • 58
    The A.V. Club - by Nathan Rabin
    In spite of some punchy scenes, crackling dialogue, and fine performances, Broken City is hopelessly overmatched. It has Academy Award dreams, but a detective-show heart. more

  • 50
    New York Observer - by Rex Reed
    Ultimately, everyone in the movie is wasted, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, who provides great eye candy but has nothing important to say or do. Most of the roles are so ambiguous you end up scratching your head in the final reel, and some of the loose ends are so irrelevant they seem to have ended up on the cutting-room floor. With Russell Crowe, it really helps if you can read lips. more

  • 50
    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) - by Liam Lacey
    Performances, over all, are a mixed bag; Zeta-Jones does a fair, if incongruous, impersonation of a forties vamp, while Chandler and Pepper do well with limited screen time. As usual, Wright, as a Machiavellian police commissioner, transcends so-so-material to establish himself as the most complex character in the film. more

  • 50
    Miami Herald - by Connie Ogle
    If nothing else, Broken City manages to pull off a difficult feat: It's too convoluted to follow and simultaneously too simplistic to be believed. more

  • 50
    Christian Science Monitor - by Peter Rainer
    Directed by Allen Hughes and written by Brian Tucker, the film is a collection of crime noir oddments that don't add up to a full meal. more

  • 50
    New York Post - by Lou Lumenick
    To put it as positively as possible, there's never a dull moment in this flick - and that's not something you can take for granted at this time of the year. At the same time, though, there's rarely a believable moment in the script. ...

  • 50
    San Francisco Chronicle - by Mick LaSalle
    It's never boring, but it lacks a cumulative impact. more

  • 50
    ReelViews - by James Berardinelli
    Whether the core flaw lies in the script or is the result of overly aggressive editing, the final result is offers only sporadic glimpses of the compelling thriller Broken City fails to evolve into. more

  • 50
    Boston Globe - by Ty Burr
    As the implausibilities and conspiracies and double-crosses pile up, Broken City paints itself into a corner. A plot can be confusing as long as the filmmakers themselves don't seem confused, but that's not the case here. more

  • 50
    Slate - by Dana Stevens
    The movie's curious capacity for self-erasure makes it a tough one to write about; less than 24 hours later, I recall it with all the clarity of something I half-watched on a plane with a hangover in 1996. more

  • 50
    Village Voice - by Scott Foundas
    Broken City slogs through such fatigued plot "twists" as having one character confess to another without realizing he's being recorded. The actors look generally unhappy to be here, most of all Crowe, who seems even more miserable than he did in "Les Misérables." more

  • 50
    Slant Magazine - by Andrew Schenker
    Allen Hughes may suggest an air of pretty menace, but he does little to make the sequence work as a legible genre scene. more

  • 50
    The Hollywood Reporter - by Todd McCarthy
    Would have made for a fine film noir 60 years ago but feels rather contrived and unbelievable in the setting of contemporary New York. more

  • 42
    The Playlist - by Drew Taylor
    There are filmmakers who are able to weave social commentary through the arena of big budget entertainment, without having it come across as lopsided or boring; Allen Hughes, it turns out, is not one of these filmmakers. more

  • 40
    Empire - by David Hughes
    If this ‘power corrupts’ potboiler had been made in the 1990s — with, say, Andy Garcia, Gene Hackman and Kim Basinger — it would already have felt old-fashioned. Forget it, Jake, it’s no "Chinatown." more

  • 40
    New Orleans Times-Picayune - by Mike Scott
    Not only did Hughes shoot a handful of prominent scene-setting exteriors in the Big Apple itself, but he does an exceptional job of camouflaging his New Orleans scenes. more

  • 40
    Los Angeles Times - by Betsy Sharkey
    Nothing clicks, nothing resonates, everything's broken. ...

  • 40
    New York Daily News - by Elizabeth Weitzman
    There is no urgency, and little honesty, to the convoluted goings-on unfolding here. more

  • 38
    Rolling Stone - by Peter Travers
    Another January dud. Broken City drops hot-shot actors in a quicksand of clichés and watches them sink. more

  • 30
    Time - by Richard Corliss
    So Broken City stokes a lot of hopes. Too bad for all of us, the makers and the watchers alike, that it's a grimy botch. more

  • 30
    Wall Street Journal - by Joe Morgenstern
    The only reason to see this dreary parade of deception and venality is Mark Wahlberg's performance as a disgraced ex-cop caught up in the thick of menacing events he can't understand. It's striking how this tightly focused actor can find his own firmly grounded reality in the falsest of surroundings. ...

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User Comments & Reviews

  1. Liana Shimunova

    Broken City is an undeniably intriguing and entertaining film, but the plot becomes muddled and messy by the end because there are too many plot twists in short successions. It becomes hard to enjoy the movie when you are trying to figure out the motivations of some characters or the lack thereof. There are a couple of plot holes that don’t ultimately destroy the film, but they are definitely annoying enough to diminish your enjoyment a bit. The performances are mixed. Russell Crowe has fun as the slimy mayor while Mark Wahlberg doesn’t add any depth to a character that is completely in his wheelhouse. Jeffrey Wright gives arguably the best performance as the police commissioner. Broken City also has Catherine Zeta-Jones and Natalie Martinez, but they fail to leave an impression. Alona Tal is the only female who does end up leaving an impression, but the film does nothing with the evident chemistry her and Mark Wahlberg have. Some of the plot twists are predictable and foreshadowed very early in the film, but the movie makes it out to be a huge revelation when it truly is kind of a whimper. The action is also rather ordinary. There are a couple chase scenes and action sequences that hold your interest, but they are nothing special. Ultimately, that’s how I feel about Broken City as a whole.