THE BROKEN-France/United Kingdom-93 Mins. 2008
Directed by Sean Ellis
Written by Sean Ellis
Lena Headey as Gina McVey
Ulrich Thomsen as Dr. Robert Zachman
Richard Jenkins as John McVey
Melvil Poupaud as Stefan Chambers
Lena Headey stars in The Broken; a film that was a part of the 3rd annual After Dark Horrorfest series. Headey stars as Gina McVey, a successful radiologist. One day, she sees a woman drive past her who is an exact duplicate of herself. She pursues the woman and is involved in a head-on collision that puts her in the hospital. When she comes to, she has no recollection of what happened in the accident. She goes to live with her boyfriend while she recovers. She notices, as does his dog, that he does not quite seem like himself. Gina conveys this belief to her therapist and he tells her that she may be suffering from Capgras’ Syndrome. This is a rare disease in which a person believes that a close friend or relative has been replaced by an exact double. The film goes from psychological to supernatural thriller and back again quite often. Is Gina hallucinating? Are her friends being replaced by duplicates? Is she being replaced by a duplicate? These questions are answered throughout the course of the film.
The Broken borrows quite a bit from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It also relies quite a bit on the plot of the Korean horror film Into the Mirror (remade as Mirrors in the United States). Usually I would be shouting “RIP-OFF” at discovering this. However I don’t feel that ripping someone else’s work off was what director/writer Sean Ellis intended to do. I believe he set out to make a good horror film that would keep the audience guessing right up to the very end and I believe that he succeeds for the most part.
Lena Headey is very good as Gina Mcvey. She brings a calm to the character that I don’t think any other actress could have done except maybe for Nicole Kidman or Kate Winslet. Richard Jenkins as John McVey, Gina’s father, is also quite good and reminds us why he received an Oscar nomination. The rest of the cast is a credible one and there really are no weak performances.
The Broken is a good film. It is just not a great film. It borrows from other films a bit much and that hurts its’ credibility. Sean Ellis clearly shows talent as director. I for one would like to see something entirely original from him. I don’t think I will be waiting very long.
The inventive spelling of the title reads somewhat silly in Norwegian and Danish since the Ø in broken is a letter in the alphabet in these languages and sounds like the “u” in “burden”. In addition “brøken” is the Norwegian and Danish word meaning “the fraction”.
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