During one fateful night at the diner in which she waits tables, Hope (Heather Graham), a young transplant to Los Angeles from the Midwest, comes face to face with her own version of the seven deadly sins... Sloth, Glutton... more »y, Envy, Lust, Greed, Pride, and of course Wrath, which erupts in the form of her ex-boyfriend Will (Jeremy Sisto). Her dark-side incarnate comes at her from every angle this night in an all-out effort to devour her soul.« less
"Because so many people see Heather Graham as the typical blonde bimbette with big breasts who cannot act, they are going to miss out on one of the greatest performances of her career. She is simply amazing in BROKEN, along with another actor I love, Jeremy Sisto. Both of them give extraordinary performances in this edgy, gritty, yet extremely emotional story about how people turn to drugs to deal with disappointment. I'm sure there are so many cynics out there who are saying, yeah yeah, another movie about how drugs are bad for you. But this movie really is different. It doesn't just show the bad effects of drugs, it actually talks about why people want to self medicate to fill the emptiness of their lives, or to avoid dealing with themselves. One character tells Hope, Why are you running from yourself? There is more to say, but I will leave it at that. It is a great and wonderful film. Don't believe any negative press. It is a complex film the way it is structured, but if you listen carefully, you will understand the message. It is yet another overlooked jewel of a film!"
THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD OF BROKEN DREAMS
Strange Bedfellows | Malibu, CA | 11/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD OF BROKEN DREAMS Is Broken a Dream, or a Place?
Broken is Dorothy's trip retold, with LA as Oz, as seen from Mulholland Drive. From the clean shining sealight of Zuma Beach, to the superficial artificial light of Skid Row dives and midnight diners, Broken follows the arc of a young woman from the Midwest who follows her dreams to Los Angeles, and almost lets her nightmares do her in.
Heather Graham is Hope, a young woman who doesn't think that Cleveland rocks, and goes west with her guitar in hand and a song in her heart called Hanging Tree. The sealight of California lights Hope up brown and golden, she looks beautiful and happy lying on the beach at Zuma, when she is approached by a stranger (Jeremy Sisto) who approaches her as if he walked out of the glare of a setting sun,. He asks for a cigarette, but Hope doesn't have any, she has quit, so he pulls two from his pocket and offers her one. The guy says his name is Will, and this gesture of his is more than a pickup tactic, it is a clue as to who Will really is, a clue that only makes sense at the end of the movie.
The yellow brick road that millions have followed to Los Angeles is lined with permanent detours and dead ends, and Will takes Hope by the hand and leads her away from the golden, dreamy light at the beach and down one of those bad paths, the path of heroin addiction which plunges Hope into a world of bad light, artificial light, the light of tunnels leading to hell, of dingy apartments with the light blocked by foil, to the light of a butane lighter, bubbling heroin in a spoon. The heroin that is slowly taking the light out of Hopes eyes and out of her dreams.
Broken moves backward and forward and sideways through time, but the real time of the movie takes place after midnight in a café where Hope scratches out a living as a waitress. This is the Blue Star Café in the movie, but those who know Los Angeles will recognize it as the Hellay Café, because the patrons that Hope waits on are everyone you don't want to become in Los Angeles: Jake Busey and Joe Hursley are sadly funny as two heroin-addicted losers who can't score smack or women at 2:00 in the morning. Jessica Stroup is beautifully sad as an Xd out Valley chick stuck behind two guys she doesn't like, and looking for salvation from Hope. Linda Hamilton is evil sad as a madame who plays on Hopes weaknesses and tries to lure her even deeper with promises of big money. Hope has already prostituted herself physically and mentally, for drugs, for Will.
Tess Harper is just sad as a homeless woman who seems to be able to read Hope's mind - and a reflection of what Hope will soon become if she continues with Will.
The other patrons are a wannabe producer and director - younger and older versions of the endless train of BSing hopefuls that pass through Los Angeles. There is a wannabe record producer luring three wannabe rock stars with promises of meeting "the most powerful man in Hollywood" at two in the morning.
The Blue Star Café could also be called the Wannabe Café, as it is a purgatory between the heaven of all that Los Angeles promises and the hell of broken dreams. Hope is trapped in this purgatory, at two in the morning. She is flashing back on her relationship with Will, a relationship that is more sex and drugs than rock and roll, a relationship that is stealing Hope's youth and beauty, and her dreams and self respect.
Hope is done with the relationship, but not Will. The homeless woman warns Hope that Will will be back, he will always come back. As Hope waits on the various sad cases in the Hellay Café, the clock is ticking as Will pulls his gun and steals cars and makes his way to confront the woman who has spurned him.
There is a weird tension in the Wannabe Café when Will busts in with a gun, threatening everyone. A lot of these people need killing - they would be better off dead - but Will ends up shooting the saddest and most innocent of them all. Jeremy Sisto plays a believable psycho, a common type around LA: the guy who can't make it, and takes it out on everyone around him.
Hope takes all of Will's wrath on herself, and faces her moment of truth, making a decision and with a loud bang forces the viewers to make up their minds about Broken: Is Will an addict, or is he Addiction? Is he a person, or a symbol? Did all of this happen, or was it all a heroin nightmare that took place as Hope nodded on a bathroom floor.
Is this whole movie reality, or is it, in the words of Dorothy: A dream, or a place?"
An Intriguing Modern Allegory
Carrie Johnson | Kauai, Hawaii | 11/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was poised to not like this movie -- it's just not the sort of film that I usually enjoy... I will admit to a penchant for explosion man and cartoons, with the occasional bit of Shakespeare... so it was surprising to find in this film both intrigue and delight.
It's not often that the allegorical format, in a classical sense, is used this well in modern filmmaking. In so many current films filmmakers take us by the hand and lead us through one of the 30 plots they learned in film school. Is the film hard to follow at times? Perhaps if you are taking it literally, but on a more philosophical or even metaphysical level it is clear as crystal. The distillation of human longing an conflict and the personal nature of the characters, touching on so many aspects of human nature, speak at a deep and satisfying level.
This is truly an extraordinary piece of cinematic art. Well worth owning as it's the sort of film that will be fresh each time you view it and will bear many, many viewings."
Original and fresh
gonzo | 11/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Broken tells the story of a young girl, Hope (Heather Graham), who goes to LA seeking fame and fortune, and doesn't, she meets up with Will (Jeremy Sisto) and they spiral down into self destruction, but Hope recognises she has to tame her Will in order to survive. We've seen this story told before but never in this original and fresh way. The lead characters names are a guide to the metaphorical jigsaw you start to put together when watching the movie. Yes you have to think to work it out! And no, not everything is laid out for you, but the characters and performances are compelling enough to take you on an original and fresh ride."
What is THIS?!
Marian M. Matsunaga | sequim,WA | 04/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Broken" at first, didn't make much sense, until I realized that it does not unfold in a linear manner. The jumping around is at times, hard to follow, but it all meshes together in the end. The best I can say without giving away the whole shooting match is that it involves a 24 hour period in the life of the protagonist, Hope (Heather Graham). Most of it, at least. For a great part of it, we see what she does when she's not dreaming of stardom as a musician, a waitress in a greasy spoon. The patrons of said greasy spoon are what can only be referred to as "hangers-on" and the typical losers normally found on city streets after those with a life have retired to their homes.
Hope has a boyfriend (though the "friend" part is questionable, at best), Will (Jeremy Sisto), a self-destructive loser type who is not beyond spreading the wealth. Hope's life is slowly being flushed down the toilet with Will's help, and one wonders if she REALLY comes above the downward spiral she finds herself in (I found myself cheering on Will, because at times, Hope is acting too stupid to want to help!).
Into this melee' are a barnload of what can only be referred to as "Hollywood has-beens". There is a haggard looking Linda Hamilton, as a "Madam" of sorts. A VERY haggard Tess Harper (who actually looked the part), and Jake Busey, who looks less like his father, and more like a low-brow neanderthal every time I see him. These are the denizens of the early morning Los Angeles. It amazed me how accurate their portrayals were, as I, myself used to live in L.A., and I saw these people every day, on my way to work! It IS amazing that young people STILL trek to Hollywood to be "discovered" (sort of the same type of lie that makes people believe that the island of Oahu is still a paradise!).
"Broken" is a sobering view of a life side-tracked by drugs, self-delusion and dreams of the type that make up the film's title."