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Movie review: Broken City

Mark Wahlberg's newest flick is run-of-the-mill mystery

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

January 19, 2013 | 12:00 p.m. CST

The premise of Broken City is that nothing is as it seems and politics are as dirty as ever. The movie keeps the audience in a maddeningly state of confusion as they try to figure out who the good guys are, who killed whom and who exactly is sleeping with Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Billy Taggert, a former police detective who, after being accused of murder, becomes a private investigator. Hostetler, the mayor of New York (Russell Crowe) hires Billy to follow his wife (Zeta-Jones) and figure out if she is having an affair. The mayoral re-elections are a week away, and Hostetler wants to make sure an affair wouldn’t be the deciding factor in a very tight race. As the movie unfolds, more and more corruption is exposed, and the audience discovers that every character has a dark side.

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If the audience can endure the muddled beginning and middle of the movie, the ending is definitely worth it. There were several lines of dialogue in the movie that make the audience go, “Oh snap! That just happened!” The scenes of hatred between Crowe and Zeta-Jones’ characters are deliciously exhilarating, and there weren’t enough of them. The plotline with Billy’s girlfriend (Natalie Martinez) is complete unnecessary, and Mark Wahlberg didn’t really need to stare broodingly into the camera, mirrors or his own watery reflection, as much as he did.

The amount of unanswered questions in Broken City was frustrating for the audience and for Mark Wahlberg. There were several times where he demanded to know what was going on, and it’s not clear if he ever figured everything out. But no worries, somehow all the loose ends get tied up. Somehow.

Vox Rating: V V

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