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Broken (2005)


For those who watch numerous low budget and no budget films, you get used to seeing a certain style of production.  Most people who are used to watching major studio films have trouble getting past the production of truly independently produced films and as a result, they often don't enjoy  the movie.  The majority of the films reviewed here at Film Apocalypse fall into the no budget category, so I guess I'm used to the quality.  I expect movies to look different from a major studio production.  Some of the black and white films can pull off looking more professional, but the stuff shot in color typically looks like it was created by a guy and his friends from the neighborhood.  I don't mind that.  I often enjoy these films, but it's still the quality that I expect.  The short film
Broken does not look like it was shot by a guy and his friends from the neighborhood at all.  It looks like it was shot by professionals.  

I usually don't make any mention in my reviews of what other people are saying about a film.  I just try to address the questions that I would want answered before I buy a movie.  However, in the cast of Broken, I think it may be relevant to the review.  The reason for this is Broken just may be the most heavily promoted independent film I've ever seen.  There are a LOT of reviews out there for this short movie.  Most of the are extremely positive and talk about how this film is just as good as some specific major studio film in every way.  There are also a small number of reviews that pretty much say the film is just another amateur project with a crappy story that doesn't look professional at all.  I don't see many reviews that take the middle in the argument and that is precisely where I think this film sits: not quite amateur; not quite major studio, but an impressive product for a low budget creation.

The production quality looks as good or better than almost any TV show on the Sci-Fi network.  It looks better than just about any film I've ever seen on one of those "10 movies for $14" box sets which are sold in some of the major chain stores.  The quality is better than most of the films released under the Troma name these days.   It doesn't look as good a The Matrix or Pirates of the Caribbean or most other major studio, big budget films.  For a low budget movie, that is still pretty damn impressive to me.  This is one low budget movie where I don't think that the quality of the film would make it tough for the average viewer to watch. 

The story is fragmented and tough to follow.  I think it's supposed to come off kind of like The Usual Suspects or Memento; an action / suspense movie that keeps you trying to figure out what's going on right up to the end.  They were relatively successful in that respect, but I really came away feeling like I had watched a 20 minute trailer for a film.  Well, maybe THAT is really what these guys were going for because Broken: The Feature Film seems to be in the works.  

If you're a fan of DVD bonus features, this movie definitely has them!  I guess they figured that since the movie is only 20 minutes long, they had a lot of space that could be filed with bonus features.  There is a "Making Of" short, a "Marketing" short, concept art, costume design, storyboards, rehearsal footage, evolution of an action sequence, special effects breakdown, how to make a mini dv look like a film, and much, much, much more adding up to almost 3 hours of bonus material.

Now I want to see the feature film!  I guess THAT's when we'll see what these guys are really capable of...and whether or not they can keep up the pace with promotion!

Gore-o-meter rating: 3.5 out of 5 (OK, gore should probably only be a 2.5, but action is a full 5!)

Skin-o-meter: 0 out of 5 (No skin)