Film Review: The Day of the Broken

Based in local St Kilda surrounds, The Day Of The Broken showcases a gritty underside to our city we’re not often privy to. The first feature film of Director/Writer/Actor Simon J. Dutton, it’s an intense expedition through the minds of the damaged and sometimes simply deranged. Charlotte (Justina Noble) has been left hollow after her children were kidnapped and sexually abused, resulting in her daughter’s death. So far unable to achieve true justice for her children, Charlotte is forced to contact Francis (Simon J. Dutton), her shadowy brother-in-law. Francis is almost psychopathic in his coldness – promising to destroy whoever committed this heinous crime. From here, we’re introduced to an array of characters that are seemingly unconnected apart from their inherent desperation. The most memorable of these include an anxious patient in the midst of therapy (Lawrence Mooney), an amusing, ocker drug addict (Greg Fleet) and Mary (Joecelyn Tauta Towers), a powerless sex worker. The strings are pulled together as Francis searches for those who stole his nephew’s innocence. The Day Of The Broken subjects us to an endless torrent of violence and depravity. Dutton doesn’t shy away from depicting death, drug taking and confrontation in the most unswerving way possible. While dancing between thriller and crime genres, this is a film that can make even the hardiest filmgoer flinch. By the end, you’re almost desensitized to the shock value, which is ultimately pretty frightening in itself. Meagre comedic relief is provided by Greg Fleet as Bob, who has apparently been hiding his impressive acting chops behind a comedy career. In a film like The Day Of The Broken where few characters feel redemptive, Bob is a breath of fresh, likeable air. The editing within The Day Of The Broken is frenetic, matching the choppy nature of the storyline which is sometimes difficult to follow. It doesn’t unfold like a natural mystery, which leaves you watching with bated breath; scarcely able to guess which act of horror you’ll see next. Visually, we’re served a dark palette, with occasional glimpses of familiar places in Melbourne. The whole film is underscored beautifully by atmospheric music from Norwegian band, Deaf Center. Deaf Center provide an ominous soundtrack so perfectly suited to each beat and moment of the film that it’s possibly one of the best scores in Australian cinema of recent times. Dutton’s The Day Of The Broken is at times a scattered, messy affair. While it harbours a miserable ending, The Day Of The Broken signals promise for Counterpunch Productions and Dutton in particular. With the bare bones of what could eventually be very good Australian Cinema, The Day Of The Broken is an affecting and dark peek at Melbourne’s underbelly. However, the gratuitous violence that seeks to cover the film’s failings will ultimately polarize a number of viewers. 3 out of 5 stars Review by Ashleigh McMillan  The Day of the Broken opens March 13 at Classic Cinema, Elsternwick.  

March 11th 2014
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