If there’s a certain type of sub-genre of films that I love as much as the horror genre, without a doubt that type of film is gritty, betrayal-filled Tex-Mex crime noir sun-genre. There’s just something so wonderful about films like BLOOD SIMPLE, LONE STAR and various others that make me giddy like a kid giving freedom to run wild in a toy store. I’m always on the lookout for good films that fall into that type of film, and when a special one comes, it’s like an arrow from cupid, straight to my black heart. Well, fright fanatics who are also fans of the Texas crime thriller film can now add Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s BROKEN HORSES to the list of films that will WITHOUT A SINGLE DOUBT go down as one of the best of its kind.
Packing one hell of a punch right from the opening scene, the story revolves around two brothers: Buddy (Chris Marquette, FREDDY VS. JASON), a somewhat dim-witted young man who, since an early tragedy in his life, has been guided by a mean and vicious drug runner (an absolutely scary Vincent D’Onofrio), and Jake, a musical prodigy who moved far away from where he and Buddy grew up, in an attempt to not go down the same route as his violent, yet child-like brother. There’s a pain that we as a viewers see in Jake, getting ready to be married and living somewhat of a good, healthy life, but still feeling guilty about leaving his brother behind years before. Such great character development is given in BROKEN HORSES, that there isn’t a single leading character you don’t care about.
When asked by Buddy to come back to visit their hometown, Jake does so, and he’s met with a wonderful wedding gift of a new house in the middle of nowhere, with a white horse that Buddy had promised Jake years before. As a viewer, you can sense the heartache in Yelchin’s portrayal of Jake, he plays the heartaching younger brother well. When one mistake turns into a violent and ultimately confrontational climax, both Jake and Buddy are both faced with their own set of problems: does Jake do his best to remove Buddy and his violent tendencies from D’Onofrio’s tough as all hell drug runner lifestyle, one that has turned Buddy into almost a dog, not caring about beating someone to death with the mere suggestion?, and will Buddy do his best to save his brother and future sister-in-law, or does his loyalty lie within the gang? It’s such superb writing by Vidhu Vinod Chopra(India’s most successful film of all time, PK) that sets the tone for the film, and Chopra’s choice to feel the film with great actors that just further elevates the film into a status that as previous stated, will eventually put BROKEN HORSES sit confidently alongside the best TexMex crime noir films of all time. Yelchin, as always, gives a performance that breaks your heart into a dozen pieces, his loyalty to Buddy is so strong, that he puts himself in danger, just to attempt to save him. Also on top of his game is Marquette, who shines in BROKEN HORSES as well as physically possible. Marquette has an amazing career ahead of him, and if he brings it to any future films as well as he does with this one, I can see him getting huge amounts of acclaim.
A classic in the making, BROKEN HORSES is a must see crime thriller, filled to the brim with a spectacularly written script, beautifully shot scenery, and a director who knows how to choose actors that will completely embody their characters. A rare gem, it’s a film that is a profound one, definitely not to miss.
BROKEN HORSES will be opening nationwide and worldwide this Friday, April 10th.
The film will open at the Arclight Hollywood, Cinemark 18, Town Center 5 in Encino, and Edwards Westpark 8 in Orange county with a Q&A opening night at the Arclight Hollywood with Anton Yelchin and Chris Marquette following the 8:00pm show.