By: Troy Ribeiro
Friday 10 April 2015
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Christopher George Marquetter, Anton Yelchin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Maria Valverde, Seean Patrick Flanery, Jordi Caballero, Thomas Jane, Henry Shotwell
Vidhu Vinod Chopra's English Film "Broken Horses" is a different,yet emotionally packed take on the American Wild West, set somewherenear the Mexican border.
With heavy doses of bromance, the tale delves on the bond betweentwo orphaned brothers. It explores their sensitive and caring naturetowards each other.
Narrated in a linear fashion, it is the story of Buddy Heckum, asensitively hooked slow learner, his musically inclined youngerbrother Jacob Heckum, who is also known as Jakey, and a connivinggangster Julius Hench, who in order to safeguard his own intereststries to separate the two brothers. This forms the crux of the tale.
Fifteen years ago after the death of their father Gabriel Heckum,the Sheriff of this border town, the boys are left to fend forthemselves. Julius takes Buddy under his wings and instigates himwith, "There are lots of bad people out there, somebody got to stopthem... Miguel Stanton killed your dad and you cannot let him getaway. You kill him."
Buddy takes revenge. This "job" was his initiation into the crimeworld. And in order to protect Jakey from his world of crime, the evercaring older brother packs him off to New York to let him pursue hisdream of becoming a violinist.
Years later, Jakey plans to get married and settle down withVittoria (Maria Valverde). Buddy insists that Jakey return home tohave a look at the surprise wedding gift he has in store for them. Thegift was "a promise he had made". Jakey obliges. It is then, when heis in his hometown, that Jakey learns about Julius' sinister plan andthe film garners momentum.
"Broken Horses" is Christopher G Marquette's turf. He engages youas Buddy and gets you hooked. He alternates between a simpleton and apigheaded revenge-seeking mercenary hitman with equal ease and grace.
Anton Yelchin as his younger brother is sincere. The fear andconcern for his brother is palpable on screen.
Of the rest of the cast, Sean Patrick Flanery as Jakey's musicteacher, with his amputated legs is a bit dramatic and unconvincing.Maria Valverde as Vittoria, the only woman in the male bastion to havesome credible screen moments, is functional.
There are some subtle emotional moments between Buddy and her whichare touching. Vincent D'Onofirio as the sweet talking, pyrophobicvillain is not at all menacing.
With not enough weightage given to the sub-plots, the overallpiling of the plot seems superficial and shallow, especially thepassage when Jakey goes to interview Mario Garza, the rival gangster.Also, the metaphor used in that scene is trite and oft seen ingangster films.
Though this is an original story by Vinod Vidhu Chopra, "BrokenHorses" finds its genesis in numerous older films, which includesChopra's earlier film "Parinda." But what makes it stand apart is itstreatment.
The intelligently written screenplay and dialogues, especially thesummation of the title of the film, by Chopra and Abhijat Joshi, morethan make up for the deficit in the design scheme.
Tom Stern's camera work is excellent. He has a flair forwide-angled panoramic shots. Some of the shots of the Wild West andJakey's Ranch, captured in the twilight zone are worth noticing. So isthe underwater shot during the climax.
Well mounted with good production and technical values, the filmhas an inexplicable gentleness to the narration, very characteristicof Vidhu Vinod Chopra. It will appeal to the emotionally inclined.
Rating: Three and a half stars