Following his starring role in American sleuth drama Lie to Me, British actor Tim Roth is back in cinemas, with his talent writ as large as the screen itself. That said, his role in Rufus Norris' Broken is subtle and unassuming, though the subject matter and climax are not. Renowned theatre director Norris' second film is a powder keg of social tension disguised as a coming-of-age film. It explores the dysfunction and foibles of three families sharing the same small suburban cul-de-sac. Amidst the occasional violence and tenderness, 11-year-old diabetic Skunk (Eloise Laurence) balances her friendship with neighbour Rick, who has psychological issues, with a burgeoning romance with another boy. Based on Daniel Clay's novel of the same name, itself heavily inspired by Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, the film eschews the raw social realism of Mike Leigh or Ken Loach's work for a more fractured approach. The cutting between the three families fails to delve long enough on each unit and its members to be fully engaging or satisfying. Even Skunk is kept at arm's length a little, acting like an observer until she too is drawn into the story's dramas.
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Lily James, Tim Roth
Directors: Rufus Norris
Running Time: 91 mins
• Broken is out now.