Broken Horses: Film Review – Beautiful. Ambitious. Dark.

Back in 1989 when Parinda released, it unveiled a whole new world of crime-dramas to the Indian audience. It gave us an insight into the dark and gritty world of the ‘Bombay underworld’. The film – starring Nana Patekar, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher and Madhuri Dixit – left an indelible mark on us. Parinda received two National Awards and five Filmfare awards.

This year, ace film producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra takes a major leap with his film Broken Horses. Inspired by his previous film "Parinda", Broken Horses marks Chopra’s Hollywood directorial debut. Just like Parinda, Broken Horses is dark yet emotional at times. But here, we are taken through the barren and grim lands of Mexican border areas instead of the Bombay underworld.

Broken Horses traces the story of two brothers – Buddy (Chris Marquette) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) – who are orphaned at an early age. The two share a very close bond. After the death of their father, Buddy drops out of school and starts working under a local criminal, Julius Hench (Vincent D’Onofrio), who instills revenge on his mind and trains him to be a hitman. Over the years, while Jacob moves to the city in pursuit of his career, Buddy stays back and lives a life of crime. The rest of the film traces how Jacob tries to save his gullible brother from the controlled environment of Julius Hench. Since we are already familiar with the story, there isn’t any element of surprise in store. The story treads along the same lines as Parinda, just with a different setting, characters and larger than life visuals.

The cinematography by Oscar-nominated Tom Stern is what makes the film come alive. The shots are well-framed and profound. Anton Yelchin gives an outstanding performance. Chris Marquette also depicts his character well. Buddy has two sides. If he is the loving brother, he is also the hitman with a very violent streak. And Chris portrays this dichotomy with perfection. It is fun to watch Vincent D’Onofrio as Julius Hench. But can he surpass Nana Patekar from Parinda?

The end is drama overkill.


Why should you watch the film?

Broken Horses is a stellar attempt by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The story is simple, but with the grandeur of Hollywood. If you are into crime thrillers, Broken Horses can be an easy watch this weekend.

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