Sunday, June 27, 2010

Broken (2006)

I've been on a bit of an Adam Mason kick lately.  This started off with the hype around Pig (which I ended up missing because I'm a forgetful idiot sometimes) and then I decided to delve into some of his other movies.  Frankly, I HATED The Devil's Chair and thought it was a ridiculous excuse for a movie.  But the plot of Broken looked promising and I decided to give it a shot.

There are a lot of dissenting opinions on this low-budget indie flick.  I'll put my two cents in and say I thought it was incredible.  It's hard to say I "loved" it, because who (even among the most demented of us) literally loves watching women being tortured and humiliated for 1.5 hours?  Broken was intense, frightening, and harrowing and left me squirming in my seat.

Broken is the story of a woman, Hope (played by Mason's wife, Nadja), who goes on a successful date and returns home to kiss her daughter goodnight.  The next thing she knows, she's trapped in a coffin in the woods, screaming to be let out.  A day passes before she's given that chance, and she's able to "escape" only to be smacked over the head again and tied to a tree.  She's instructed to remove an razor stitched into her stomach in order to release herself from the tree.  However, in a cruel ploy, this does not ensure her freedom, but only her intention to continue with this "game."

The Man brings Hope back to a campground and chains her up while tending to her wounds.  While he instructs her to wash pans and tend to a garden, it seems that he intends for her to live with him as a sort of slave.  She repeatedly inquires as to the safety and whereabouts of her daughter but the man will provide no answers.  Soon, she falls into the routine of living day-to-day with the man, and even gains the upper-hand in a few small situations.  I also was impressed with the way she used her sexuality a la I Spit on your Grave in order to create an opening for escape. 

Unfortunately, Hope's several attempts for escape are thwarted and she gains a broken leg in the process.  Soon, another captive joins them, which causes further complications.  The ending was very shocking and can be "read" in many different ways.  I liked one commentator's interpretation of blindness/muteness which would cause an impossibility of communication between the two remaining characters.  I would say more, but it would give away the twist ending.

Now for the negative.  Yes, there were some holes/inaccuracies in this movie.  Would a razor sewn into your stomach probably slice your intestines, leaving you dead?  Sure.  Did Hope seriously blow some escape attempts when she could have gotten far, far away?  Yes, but we don't know what we would have done in that situation.  I've read many comments saying that Hope's behavior was a result of Stockholm Syndrome, but I do not see that as the case.  I think she adapted to operate in a way that kept her from getting hurt, but opened her up to trust from The Man and possible opportunities for escape and/or being reunited with her daughter.

If you like French horror, extreme horror, etc. definitely check this one out.  Not for the faint of heart though.

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