Review: The Broken Circle Breakdown

February 15th, 2021

I’ve just reviewed the stunning “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, but I figure I’d take a few moments to review a far inferior waste of time, “The Broken Circle Breakdown”. “Broken Circle” is a 2012 Belgian film about something. That something is beyond me because the movie tries a few things that fail miserably. If the movie had any redeeming qualities, you could say this review contains spoilers.

“Broken Circle” is the latest in what’s becoming a pattern for me, watching awful but highly-regarded movies on makes it really easy for me to start and resume movies. I have another streaming service but logging in is a pain, and I tend to wait until I’m really committed to seeing a movie before using it. I still use a laptop and web browser to see movies. Yes, it would be easier if I used a tablet or a “smart” television, but I don’t swing that way.

When I mentioned that “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” dealt with heavy issues but didn’t engage in tear-jerking or hyperbole, I was thinking of awful movies like “Broken Circle”. While I’m still uncertain about the point of “Broken Circle”, the story begins with harrowing hospital scenes of a child dying in a hospital. Don’t worry, the audience is exposed to the horrors of treatment and false hopes of recovery. Only after we’re shown quite well-acted misery, we’ll go ahead and cut back in time to the child’s parents meeting and falling in love. But since you know what’s coming, you never lose yourself in the courtship. Worst of all for those of us that are musicians, the couple is in a band. So now we have to see distracting live music scenes with pre-recorded audio. The music is fine if not good (and was performed by the actors), but there is no energy whatsoever. A hint for such movies, use as real an audience as possible and don’t overlay over-produced studio audio. Live music isn’t perfect. That’s part of what’s good about it.

Suffice to say the kid dies and the couple fights but continues playing in the band. “Broken Circle” doesn’t respect its audience enough for nuance. Distracting cuts substitute for characters, and cheap shots like dying kids are plot devices meant to provoke a response. Most ludicrous of all, the final scene is a deathbed where the band plays to another dying character. In a hospital. Complete with “yee haws!”

$Id: the_broken_circle_breakdown 602 2021-02-15 19:12:22Z x $

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