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All Critics (18)
| Top Critics (10)
| Fresh (5)
| Rotten (13)
Inside some bad movies, there's a good one, fighting to get out. Inside Broken Horses there's just another bad movie.
[A] weirdly baroque modern-day Western that, while it boasts undeniably imaginative visual and plot flourishes, is far too absurd to take seriously.
Mr. Yelchin's character looks somewhat at a loss about what goes on here, and who can blame him, especially when he visits the former music teacher who has lost his legs in a run-in with the bad guys and now lives in a house warmed by a flaming barrel.
While Chopra attempts to crack the American market with a slice of cinematic apple pie, he holds up a mirror to how Hollywood's tried-and-true narrative of vigilantism connotes who we are, at home and overseas.
There are secrets and revelations in "Broken Horses," none of them revealing.
This wan crime drama plays like the equivalent of a Hindi novel that's been run through Google Translate. Everything feels rudimentary and slightly awkward, though it's possible to discern how the material might once have been powerful.
[It] has a couple of effective scenes of coiled-up tension and suitably moody chiaroscuro work by cinematographer Tim Stern, but it always feels like a very early draft of the story that eventually became Chopra's professional zenith.
It's hard to tell if the film is an unfunny joke or an earnest failure, but ham-fisted symbolism and sloppy plotting rule regardless.
Despite the solid performances by the cast, it's an overwrought story that is more bleak than beautiful.
Lost in translation would be an understatement.
The overriding message of Broken Horses is, of course, one of brotherly love and the fact that although circumstances might change, some bonds remain unbroken.
[Director] Vidhu Vinod Chopra seems bent on outdoing No Country for All Men at all costs, which unfortunately include plot plausibility and a sustainable dramatic tone.
Virtually every character is dialled up to near-cartoonish levels. Anton Yelchin's Jacob in the lead role, is conversely so under the radar that he's barely noticeable. The only character in an even remotely realistic middle ground is Maria Valverde's Vittoria, who show up for five minutes at the start and a further ten at the end. The story goes almost completely unexplored, and the trailer gives away entirely to much (that's not an exaggeration, after getting the context of a single scene about a third of the way through, literally the entire rest of the film was spoiled for anyone who has watched the trailer).
But there's a lot to like too. Some cinematography is brilliant, there's a few callbacks I thoroughly enjoyed, a couple of moments reminiscent of (the far superior) Red Hill, and no matter what you put him in, and no matter how over the top his character is written, you can't go past how great Vincent D'Onofrio is.
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