101 Min. | Action – Crime – Drama | April 2015
IMDB Rating: 5.7
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Staring: Anton Yelchin, Chris Marquette, Vincent D’Onofrio
Broken Horses Review: Greetings again from the darkness. The old adage “blood is thicker than water” has always been fruitful movie fodder. Writer/director Vidhu Vinod Chopra takes the theme to a small, dusty town on the Mexico border. He introduces us to the sons of the local sheriff. Buddy is the slow-witted eldest and Jakey the bespectacled musical prodigy. In Broken Horses, Buddy is flashing his dead-eye aim at the shooting range when his father (Thomas Jane) is murdered right in front of him. Local mobster Mr. Hench (Vincent D’Onofrio) seizes the opportunity to utilize young Buddy’s need for revenge. Jump ahead 15 years, and Jakey (Anton Yelchen, Star Trek) is engaged to Vittoria (Maria Valverde) and living in New York City as a classical violinist. Things get interesting when Buddy (Chris Marquette) entices Jakey to come visit after being away for eight years.
Jake isn’t in town very long before he fully understands that Hench has a grip on Buddy, who is now a full-fledged hit-man engulfed in the various border gang wars. Here is where the brotherly bond kicks in. Watching it play out against the manipulative power of Hench provides the meatiest conflict within Broken Horses. The brothers admit to living on “different planets”, but it’s clear that their traumatic childhood has connected them in a manner that time and distance can’t break, even though one of them more readily identifies “bad men”. Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints) has an odd, but hyper-energetic small role, but most of the screen time is taken by D’Onofrio, Yelchin and Marquette. A better written role for Ms. Valverde would have been advantageous, but mostly this is a solid little crime drama with an emphasis on brotherly bond.
In all, “Broken Horses” is nothing but “Parinda” with western actors and without the same impact. While “Parinda” was a brilliant gangster movie and way ahead of its time, this one doesn’t impress as much. That isn’t saying “Broken Horses” is a bad film, it’s more than a decent crime story, and can even be enjoyed to a moderate extent. But the fact that it’s an adaptation of what could easily be considered among Indian cinema’s 10 finest films ever, and the very same Director – an ace filmmaker no less – who helmed that film comes up short in this adaptation, stirs a level of infuriation and frustration within you, especially for those who loved “Parinda”. Watch Broken Horses if you’re keen on seeing what the first Hollywood film written, directed, and produced by an Indian filmmaker is like.