Broken City (2013): Mark Wahlberg is undoubtedly one of the finest actors of today’s times, but even he fails to save this movie from unimpressive characters and an unfashionable plot. Mark Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, a former cop who has turned into a detective after a tragedy. He is always frantically running around New York City looking for answers.
Billy plays the stereotypical anti-hero who acts like a tough guy but has major insecurity issues. He is also a recovering alcoholic. Broken City is more than just broken. It is chaotic, confusing, and has corrupt officials with nonsensical motives. Russell Crowe plays the role of a “hungry for power” New York mayor.
This political crime thriller is sometimes interesting and completely silly at other times. There is no groundbreaking twist in the movie. It’s established from the beginning that this power-greedy mayor would go to extreme lengths to see his dreams come true. The movie is predictable, and the climax is so smooth that it’s almost disappointing.
Broken City (2013) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
Billy Taggart has just shot an unarmed man who is accused of rape. Billy faces the public’s wrath and claims this shooting is unjust and unlawful. He is on the verge of getting a law sentence but gets lucky enough to escape the jail sentence. Mayor Hostetler congratulates him, but he is stripped of his police duties.
Seven years later, Billy has opened his own detective agency and works as a private detective. He is seen photographing married people having extra-marital affairs. Meanwhile, Hostetler is facing elections ahead and is seen campaigning against City Councilman Jack Valliant, who is trying his best to bring down the mayor by highlighting a real-estate deal that could make many homeless.
The mayor asks Billy to follow his wife, Cathleen, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. He follows her and thinks this will be yet another infidelity angle. Billy thinks she is having an affair with the City Councilman’s campaign manager, Andrews. Cathleen warns the detective that this is beyond his understanding and that it’s best for him to maintain distance from the mayor.
Billy believes Cathleen when Andrews is shot dead. He learns from Todd Lancaster, the mayor’s benefactor’s son, that he was about to hand Andrews some crucial information against Hostetler. It’s something that would ruin the mayor’s career. Now Billy is investigating Hostetler. This investigation leads him to Todd Lancaster’s father, Sam Lancaster’s construction business.
Billy has found evidence that the housing deal is a scam and Sam’s construction company will build condos there. Hostetler’s men are now chasing Billy. He crashes his car, and the evidence gets lost. Sam and Hostetler are business partners who will make a buttload of money by making Bolton Village residents homeless.
What happens to Hostetler?
Hostetler and Jack Valliant appear on a television debate, and the former effortlessly wins the debate. The next day, Billy arrives at the mayor’s home with a recording app on his phone. He asks the mayor to resign if he doesn’t want the people of New York to see his real face.
Hostetler threatens him back and says he has hidden the evidence that has kept Billy out of jail for seven years. The evidence is a video where Billy is drunk and shooting the rape accused. Billy knows he has to face karma sooner or later. He goes to the police and hands over the evidence against the mayor. The mayor is arrested at his house where he is having his election eve party. Later, Billy is also arrested at a bar.
Broken City (2013) Ending, Explained:
Did Natalie cheat on Billy?
Natalie is Billy’s girlfriend, who has been with him through all his ups and downs. She supports him in this alcohol recovery journey, she is there for him like a rock when he is facing the stressful trials of shooting a rapist, and she is there for him when he struggles to make a living as a private detective. Natalie is a struggling actress. She even changes her name to sound less Puerto Rican.
How did Natalie and Billy meet? She is the one whose sister’s rapist was murdered by Billy. Natalie, in my opinion, is the most interesting character in the entire movie. She has dreams and ambitions and is trying her best to make a name in the film industry. Natalie finally bags a movie. During the screening of their movie, Billy watches his girlfriend performing intimate scenes with another actor. This makes him uncomfortable, and he is completely horrified.
He confronts her after the movie and asks why he wasn’t informed about the hot and heavy scenes. Furthermore, he asks her if she cheated on him. She neither accepts nor denies Billy’s allegations. But it’s safe to assume that she did cheat on him because Billy has spent seven years trailing secret affairs. He knows when someone is guilty of infidelity. He could see it in her eyes.
Natalie’s cheating is shown as a negative thing. It is terrible to cheat on a loved one. However, director Allen Hughes shows Billy’s violent and insecure nature in a nearly positive light. Obviously, Billy starts drinking again, and the entire blame conveniently falls on his girlfriend. Billy thinks now that he has nothing to lose, there is no harm in losing his freedom as well and going back to jail. He provides the evidence to the cops and gives Hostetler what he deserves.
Broken City (2013): Movie Review
Corrupted politicians and a cop gone rogue are not a new duo. One person with dirt threatens another person who has dirt against him. Both try to use each other’s crimes as ammunition. And as always, the good wins. This movie tries to be a stylish neo-noir political crime thriller. However, its weak characters and clichéd storyline adversely impact the movie’s growth. Overall, Broken City’s setting and ambiance make up for the defective plotline.