Film

Dulltown

OUT NOW! Allen Hughes' first solo effort at a political corruption thriller, BROKEN CITY, is pretty broken.

When New York cop Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) kills a criminal in the line of duty, Mayor Hostetler (Crowe) makes sure that Taggart’s back is covered during ensuing legal proceedings.

Fast forward to Hostetler’s re-election campaign some years on. The political competition looks as if it could give him a run for his money. To avoid any nasty last-minute surprises, the mayor employs Taggart, now scraping by as a private eye, to get the goods on his possibly adulterous high-profile wife (Zeta-Jones).

Turns out that there’s a lot more at stake: real estate deals, a closeted opponent, and Taggart’s demon alcohol waiting to re-surface after years on the wagon. So there’s a lot going on. Some of it isn’t that well thought out and a couple of fast moves are pulled towards the end to bring things to a boil, but narrative inconsistencies and reliance on a ‘mean streets’ atmosphere don’t detract overly from either the movie or its unoriginal message that conscience is a good thing and will get you in the end.

Crowe and Wahlberg work well off each other as beefy polit-thug and flawed Honest John, the supporting performances are solid and there’s just enough ambiguity to make the characters credible.

Broken City | Directed by Allen Hughes (USA 2013) with Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crow, Catherine Zeta Jones. Starts April 18