Director Alan White’s Broken, starring Heather Graham and Jeremy Sisto as two junkies in love in L.A., is aÂ by-the-book example of a filmmaker attempting to presentÂ more than his scriptÂ can handle.
Heather Graham, who has never been known for her acting chops, stars as theÂ obviously-named Hope,Â a doe-eyed midwestern singer-songwriter who makes her way to Los Angeles to “make it big.” Almost immediately she meets Will (Jeremy Sisto as a slacker drug-addict) on the beach and after he boldly (and stumblingly) declares “I have a feeling we’re going to be in each other’s lives” the two move in together. Their onscreenÂ chemistry is lackluster, though we are led to believe otherwise.
The actualÂ storyline takes place, as far as I can tell, in one night as Hope makes the rounds servicing various tables in the dumpyÂ diner she works in.Â As different groups of customers come in, flashbacks on aspects of Will and Hope’s relationship are shown that somehow relate to each group of people. It’s an interesting idea, but as the customers talk loudly to each other whileÂ Hope stands by, the audience is allowed numerous eye-roll worthy moments that ultimately render the less-than-clever plot device pointless. Though there are plenty of awkwardly unrealistic moments throughout, an intense kiss between Graham and aÂ doped-up female customerÂ goes above and beyond the call of unintelligible and unwarranted.
White’s heavy-handedÂ tell-don’t-show presentation of the story grinds down what little there was to begin with leaving Broken, well… broken. The story is difficult to follow, and not simply becauseÂ of itsÂ nonlinear structure, but because itÂ seems to lack a sense of purpose, while at the same time purporting to be some kind of soul-seeking tale of redemption. Two coffee and vodka addled regulars (one played by Jake Busey) add the only touch of comedy and engaging acting to the film. Linda Hamilton stops by for a painful reminder of how good she used to be. Broken seeks to reveal the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and succeeds despite itself by simplyÂ showing the audience the kind of uninspired schlock that can be produced as long as a name is attached.
Zach’s Rating: D
Perfect For: Those whoÂ just can’t getÂ enoughÂ ofÂ Heather Graham
Stay Away if: A story needs to make sense to draw you in
Comparable to: Candy, though Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish tear Sisto and Graham apart
To purchase Broken, visit Amazon