Human Fiction

Action – Creation – Critique

I just want your goodness

Untitled, by Ievgeniia Sokova

Directorial debut of the British director Rufus Norris, Broken (2012), with charming Eloise Laurence and serious Tim Roth, is about loneliness, the importance of love, and family relations. Like a philosophical parable, this film leads us to conclude that we are all connected to each other, we will not escape from the cycle of life, where we and our behavior are the parts of one big chain.

The “broken” teach us that it is necessary to be responsible for our words, that one word, one lie, can kill. The “broken” teach us that everyone has their own problems, that the world around is unfair. The “broken” teach us that love for children should not be blind. The “broken” teach us how it is important to be with someone, and that you shouldn’t feel like a lonely outcast. However, this does not mean that every frame is permeated with moralizing and didacticism, no. Thanks to blurred, muted, soft tones most of the film is perceived as a home shooting on analog camcorder that allows to not feel like pupils, for whom the cast tries to explain what is good and what is bad. We instead feel like direct participants in the events, like observers, outsiders who watch, contemplate, and make their own conclusions.

So, we have a suburb: homes, neighbors, children. Each family has their own problems and concerns, desires, dreams and goals. In the center of the story is a middle-aged single father Archie (Tim Roth), whose wife has left him; he has two children, a daughter and a son. His daughter Emily, or Skunk (Eloise Laurence), as everyone calls her, is a first degree diabetic, but is not discouraged and tries to remain kind and sweet girl, but with character and with her own point of view. While father is at work, the children are looked after by Keisha (Zana Marjanovic), who is in love with Mike (Cillian Murphy), but he is not in a hurry for marriage, while Keisha has been ready for a family for a long time. Across the street lives a family which has a son (Robert Emms), the simple guy, who seems harmless. And between these two houses is another, where lives a widower Bob Oswald (Rory Kinnear) with three children, who, whether from grief after his wife’s death, whether from excessive love for his daughters, is an aggressive, insane fist machine.

Rufus Norris to some extent plays on contrasts. First, he shows how differently it is possible to approach problems and behave in society. Secondly, how much Skunk and Bob Oswald’s daughters are different. Thirdly, Skunk herself is built on contrasts: the girl who just radiates light is actually deeply unhappy. She is terminally and seriously ill, since childhood all people close to her left her: mother, Mike, with whom she is in puppy love, her new boyfriend Dillon and now Keisha, because of an affair with her father, can leave her. Not surprisingly, in a moment of desperation she cries: “Everything always goes wrong. Only bad things happen”. However, despite all this, she does not allow herself to plunge into the darkness of despair, she tries to see happiness in every detail, in every smile, with every breath and exhale.

Nobody wants to talk to Oswald, out of fear. One of the characters is taken to the psychiatric hospital and is kept there as long as deemed necessary. Even at school children are in an atmosphere of violence and fear. However, even in such a cruel and unjust world lives a man who had a dream where he saw the different periods of some girl’s life; and then his wife woke him up and said, “Archie, she’s here.” And when there is love, which from the very first second permeates every inch of your body, the image, which has already become a cliché, of a coma and the way to the light changes its semantics. The path to light in this case is not death, but life; it is the way to her father, who will never be able to tell her “goodbye”; it is the way to love, which will destroy once and for all the loneliness and the feeling of “abandonment” and “brokenness”.

By Ievgeniia Sokova, on May 15, 2014. Top.

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