Broken receives Best of Show at Accolade Film Awards
also Interviews with Alan White, the director of Broken
A bathing beauty suntans on the beach. A lone stranger stumbles towards her, "Do you have a cigarette?" he asks. Their lives will now never be the same. Welcome to Alan White's cutting edge drug thriller "Broken", a perplexing mystery that wraps you in its madness, absorbs you in its performances and stuns you with its tightly drawn artistry. How unfortunate that dignified little films like these never get the attention they deserve and often fall through the cracks of the more high profile films of the season.
Seen at the 2007 Visionfest, I was more than a little thrown off guard on how different "Broken" was. Hope (Graham) is a lost soul. Struggling to be a musician and living a modest life, she is seduced into the arms of a stranger (Sisto) who on the exterior seems nice, but soon reveals himself to be a hardcore drug pusher. "I'm scared because I never felt this good before" Hope says while lying in his arms. Fragile and terrified of being alone, she unwillingly becomes his drug companion. Soon and luckily enough, she manages to escape out of the clutches of her boyfriend, running away into deep seclusion. While hiding out in the middle of nowhere, she is seduced again, this time at every turn with various forms of depravity. She also hasn't heard the last from her crazy former man. Is this all just coincidence or does it all measure up to something much more substantial?
Does this film sound different enough for you? With its dialogue heavy, experimental and strange narrative, "Broken" captivates you and hardly ever stales. This is almost entirely due to the best performance Heather Graham has ever given (even over Roller Girl). She is just extraordinary in this film. Radiant and adding layers of emotion and confusion to her character, sometimes using one facial expression that tells more than any piece of dialogue could- conveying a sadness and despair that is real through and through, she is one of the main reasons to see this movie. Sisto is a pro playing a sleazy dude and makes his evil character in "Waitress" look like a saint in comparison. For those that need more of a reason to seek this out, Graham gets cozy with a member of the same sex and even adds another hot sex scene to her resume.
Gratifyingly amusing and frightening, the film packs a lifetime's worth of emotion into 97 minutes and only suffers when Graham is not on screen. A psychological puzzle and refreshing change of pace from the usual drivel that ends the summer season, this film is destined to be a lost gem that's going to have a significantly hard time finding admirers.