Broken | Chicago Reader

Broken

A first feature by director Rufus Norris, adapted from a first novel by Daniel Clay, this affecting British drama nonetheless reaches back to Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird and its 1962 screen adaptation. The central characters, who live on a cul-de-sac in North London, are a spirited, 11-year-old tomboy named Skunk (Eloise Laurence, an actress of considerable promise); her older brother, Jed (Bill Milner); and their kind attorney father, Archie (Tim Roth in one of his finest performances). Along with this family there are two others in houses ringing the street, the brutal Oswalds and the meek Buckleys, both weak at the broken places. The comic and tragic elements are nicely balanced, and the three families' stories neatly and economically knit together; only in the rushed final reels, when the cascading plot developments become a little frantic, does Norris seem to lose control of the story. With Cillian Murphy.

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