Broken tells the story of a woman who is reunited with children she had long abandoned. It’s a foray into arguably new territory concept wise, but definitely original in presentation and set-up. The idea behind the movie is moving and true and very relevant for many. The question throughout the movie is really not of whether or not it is predictable and unoriginal, because that is something it definitely isn’t, but more of if it is riveting enough to carry you through or be considered memorable.
Nse Ikpe-Etim plays the mother who abandoned her children 16 years ago and even though she is one of the bigger stars in the movie, the movie is not about her. Even though Bimbo Manuel and Kalu Ikeagwu are also the other two of this tripod star cast, the movie is really not about them. But be that as it may, these three were the fire that burned and the glue that held it all together. Nse’s prison room performance was the only scene where I was teary eyed and Bimbo Manuel has indescribable powers of doing things and saying things without verbally saying anything.
It is important to note though that even though I said the movie isn’t about them I do not mean it in the sense that they were just put on the cover to sell the movie. Their characters were vital and embedded in the storyline but the bulk of the emotions is not centered around them – exempting maybe Nse’s character occasionally. The trials, the heartbreaks, the ups, the downs, the roundabouts are faced by the characters playing the children so regardless of the strength of the elders the responsibility to bring it all home rested squarely on their shoulders.
Broken is a really emotion-driven movie and even though at the end I was touched and I received the message loud and clear, I still thought it could have been louder and it could have been clearer. Personally, I’m a crier. I cry at the slightest pretext for every movie that calls upon my tears. However, for this movie my eyes barely started getting teary before it ended and a couple factors can be blamed for this.
The most important of these factors being the performances. Asides from the star actors and the first born son’s character – the real first born, most of the characters in this movie weren’t giving any solid performances. The parts that were supposed to be tear-jerking were passable at best, and all of Nse’s post-new-marriage kids were reciting lines for me. A big kudos though to the lady that plays the psychotic daughter and her brother because even though there was room for improvement, they still held it together enough for the message to be sent.
Broken does an amazing job of bringing up a societally relevant issue and the story behind it was great. The screenplay was interesting but I cannot dodge the feeling that it could have been so much more than what it was. With more solid performances and more fluid storytelling, the result could have been mind-blowing.