Broke full movie review - Mixed bag of ingredients but a worthwhile exploration of fallen heroes.
There's much to admire in writer/director Heath Davis' fallen hero trope 'Broke'. Some gritty realism, robust performances and a compelling 'anti' hero's journey on offer.
But there are elements of contrivance with at times clunky dialogue which risks neutralizing the positives. Steve Le Marquand is perfectly cast as 'BK' the former rugby great; now a shell of a man who resorts to petty crime and worse to survive. The towering and at times imposing protagonist is matched by the determined but gentle goodness of the great Max Cullen's 'Cec' who for a myriad of reasons decides to give 'BK' a helping hand. Aided by his lovely daughter (BK's biggest fan) played by Claire Van der Boom, 'Cec' makes it his mission to help the one time great find his reason for being again, and hopefully make him a better man. To enjoy and believe 'Broke' the viewer must accept this conceit and find credulity where occasionally it simply isn't there.
As great an actress as Van Der Boom is, her 'Terri' is just too glamorous and implausibly attracted to the indigent 'BK' even if he once was a 'big spunk' and a national hero. There is a forced colloquial layer to the performances and dialogue that removed this viewer from being connected to the characters and the story, and the shrill performances of the usually brilliant Brendan Cowell and Justin Rozniak are too broad and noisy to add much to the narrative.
Max Cullen really is a national treasure and it is great so see him back on the screen in such a substantial role. There is an interesting story to be told here; about role models and the incessant pedestal placing of sports stars and the turning a blind eye to their abhorrent and excessive behaviour. There is an unnecessary proliferation of homophobic comments that seem jarring, but at other times the realism of the anger and the violence that swirls around these characters is refreshing, so I am in a bit of a bind as to how best and fairly to recommend this movie.
It is great that this film was financed by crowd funding and sporting groups and that it has been doing a tour of smaller centres around Australia. I just wished that the performances had been reined in a little, as the believability factor is the difference between a film being OK, and great. However, back to the positives; deconstructing the mythic and iconic nature of our male sport stars is certainly a good reason to make a film like 'Broke'. And redemption tales are always worth checking out.