Box art for Broken City

Broken City

drama, thrillers

Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones star in this gripping crime thriller where everyone has a motive and no one can be trusted.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Political thriller mixes violence, language, drinking, sex.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Broken City is a mature political thriller with lethal violence, strong language, and lots of heavy drinking. Starring Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg, it's the kind of star-studded, testosterone-driven movie that teens might find appealing. But there's some pretty intense violence (including images of gunshot victims and brutal fighting), near-constant swearing (especially "f--k"), alcohol use (Wahlberg's character is a recovering and then lapsed alcoholic), and a couple of sex scenes (one is in a movie within the movie, and the other features a topless woman). The majority of the characters are deeply flawed, compromised, or corrupt, but there is a lesson here about redemption and sacrifice for the greater good. A subplot involves homosexuality; some derogatory terms are used.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the amount of violence in Broken City. Would the movie be less compelling without it?
  • Broken City has several corrupt characters, particularly those with political standing. Do you think real-life politicians and lawmakers have as many scandalous secrets as Mayor Hostetler and Commissioner Fairbanks?
  • How does the movie portray drinking and alcohol? What are the consequences for Billy of falling off the wagon? Do they seem realistic?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 21
    see all Broken City reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Like the film's shady mayor, "Broken City" is a little too slick for its own good.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, January 18, 2013

Rotten: Nothing clicks, nothing resonates, everything's broken.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rotten: What follows is not a review; it's an long (illustrated!) spoiler.

- Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Entertaining but very flawed political thriller about a private eye (Mark Wahlberg) who was thrown off the NYC police force but gets a major job when the Mayor (Russell Crowe) asks him to find out who his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is messing around with. This case is rather easy for the man but soon he realizes that this is just the start of dirty business. BROKEN CITY, as a thriller, really doesn't work because the plot is rather silly. It's especially silly if you start to think about it too long and that's why it's best to just walk into the theater, turn your brain off and enjoy the excellent cast that's offered up here. It's always amazing to see how many great actors they can get for less-than-stellar material but the three leads are excellent as are Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper and Alona Tal. The performances are certainly the reason to check this film out as they help keep the film moving along no matter how many twists and turns get thrown at us. Wahlberg is once again a lot of fun playing the tough guy and has no problem with this. Crowe appears to be having fun with the less than serious role and Zeta-Jones gets a couple nice scenes along the way. I thought Pepper is the one who really stood out playing the man going up against Crowe's character in the upcoming election. Tal was also a breathe of fresh air when she's on screen. An almost unrecognizable Griffin Dunne also plays a supporting part. Director Allen Hughes does a nice job at keeping the film moving at a nice pace but there's still no question that the material just isn't all that strong. I'm not sure if there were countless re-writes or not but the screenplay pretty much hits on every clich that this lower-quality political thrillers do. The twists and turns aren't all that shocking and neither is the ending. Still, BROKEN CITY remains enjoyable thanks to the cast. 4 Stars 5-21-13

- bbcfloridabound, Thursday, May 23, 2013

3 stars

review soon.....

- LWOODS04, Thursday, May 2, 2013

1 star

Just bad. Poorly acted, horribly paced. Broken City is generic forgettable garbage you'll want to force yourself to remember you saw so that you don't mistakingly go to watch it again in three years.

- fb508860270, Tuesday, April 16, 2013