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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Wheels Within Wheels

Broken City on IMDb

Plot Overview

female patriotMayor's speechOutside the Bolton Village projects one night, a police stop results in the tragic death of a young, Puerto Rican hombre Mikey Tavarez (Luis Tolentino) who'd earlier skated on a technicality for the rape & murder of its 16-year-old resident Yesenia Barrow. To Yesenia's father that was justice, to Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) it was heroism, to NYPD Detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) it was time to move on until the public furor dies down.

Seven years later Billy is a P.I. and Mayor Hostetler is running for reelection against Connecticut carpet­bagger Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper.) Valliant thinks there are better economic solutions than selling Bolton Village to developers who will hurt its poor when they “jack up the rents & replace them with yuppies.” A graffito shows—from left to right—a black man looking dark, an ethnic woman covered with a scarf, and a white dove on the wing. Under­neath is a slogan: Hatred paralyzes. Love frees. White flight is exemplified by Valliant who lives else­where in an upscale dwelling. He'd be followed by the Barrows, Puerto Ricans who can't bear to leave Bolton Village despite its sad memory (“Where would we go?”) Bringing up the rear is a black youth, witness to the shooting, who's a wastrel likely to bring the ghetto with him wherever he goes.

office party

photographerThe mayor asks Billy, “I need you to help me find the s.o.b. who's f—ing my wife.” The election is a week off and he explains, “New Yorkers, they've elected drunks, crooks, Italians, homos, Jews, and blacks to that seat, but they will not elect some guy whose wife is f—ing some other guy behind his back.” Interesting hierarchy, that. Every­body drinks. The rich and powerful are having wall-to-wall cock­tails. They're the incumbents.

Next to be elected are the crooks, people who (“Nobody wants a tax increase”) cheat on their taxes. Everybody fudges a little except presumably Valliant who wants to tax the rich (“He's too clean; New York's a big, messy place.”)

They're followed in electability by micks who swell the police ranks. Billy is a lapsed Catholic presumably of Italian descent. And they're just the tip of the ethnic iceberg in the Big Apple. Authoress Marie Chay describes an Italian emigrant come to America at the turn of the twentieth century:

My grandmother's bordinaus was so well known that even those back home in Piedmont, with­out ever having seen it, spoke of this refuge from America with familiarity, as though it contained hundreds of rooms and could take care of any number of people, and as if it were located a few blocks from the New York water­front. Instead it was two thousand miles away in the mining camp of Berger's Draw, and at best it could take care of twenty boarders, ten in each of the two dormitorylike rooms.

“It's made of adobe, not elastic,” my grandfather said whenever Piedmontese asked to come in when it was full.

My grandmother could hardly stand it at these times, thinking of the money she had to turn away—providing it was “Piedmontese money,” my grandfather said.

My grandmother saw nothing incongruous between having a boarding­house strictly for those of ours and at the same time expressing her vociferous views on the brother­hood of man. She believed fiercely that all men were brothers, all creaturi dal Dio, Who made every­one equal and alike—all, that is, except the Piedmontese.

“Everyone has favorites,” she said in explanation. “Even God. Mine is Louis,” she said speaking of her only son, “and God's are the Piedmontese.”

It was inconceivable to her that she should even mingle with inferiors. South Italians, Slavs and Americans were all right in their place, but that place wasn't in her bordinaus or in her life.

“Only the pure live there,” my grandfather told Dino. (38–9)

Thus are all races and ethnicities warmly regarded as equals in the brotherhood of man, especially at election time.  Note: Piedmont cattle are favored with a genetic defect making them double-muscled. The people them­selves—along with most of humanity—come from one of Noah's two blessed lines, the blacks from another enslaved one as mentioned in other reviews.  Following the Italians et al come the homo­sexuals. Billy tailed the mayor's wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to a rally in which a Lesbian speaker touted every­one's right to love whom she pleases. Figures.

secretary and bossNext are the Jews. Billy's secretary Katy Bradshaw (Alona Tal) bargained like one for phone privileges and for auto accessories (“Where'd you get these seat covers? The Gaza Strip?”)

Bringing up the rear on the mayor's electability list are the blacks. They crowd the court­house steps ("WHAT DO WE WANT?") at the opening of the movie ("JUSTICE!") Their justice is delayed ("WHEN DO WE WANT IT?") when the mayor buries ("NOW!") a home video of the police action. He's keeping it in reserve to threaten Billy with if Billy wants to use the dirt he's uncovered on him. It's not the same dirt as the other's. Webster defines “misprision 1 b: concealment of treason or felony by one who is not a participant in the treason or felony.” They committed different felonies from each other, but if they don't come forward with what they know, they're also committing misprision of felony, if not being accessories to the crimes outright.


Billy has developed a relationship with Natalie Barea, née Barrow, (Natalie Martinez) sister of deceased Yesenia. She performs with a theater troupe and has invited Billy to the premiere of the indie film “Kiss of Life” in which she stars. It contains “a simple sex scene” that is altogether too realistic for Billy's appetite (“You f—ed him”) rivaling the movie “Farewell My Concubine” in which the starring couple wouldn't say whether or not they in fact did the deed onscreen. Natalie's mom did not approve of her acting career calling her a puta. The cast and production in the know treated it like business-as-usual, not a betrayal of Billy. They were thus committing misprision of treason.

This kind of crime also strikes closer to home for those who employ modern trans­lations of the Bible. Constantin Tischendorf whose long labor resulted in a borrowed prized Sinaitic Manu­script—now the second most important one in modern Bible translations—rather than return it to St. Catherine's Monastery where it belongs, he forged the Abbot's signature making it a gift to the Russian Czar. The translators who would know about this don't mention it in the prologues of their bibles. That is (one of) the reason(s) why I quote from the King James Version (KJV): its textus receptus (received text) is perfectly adequate Greek, and I don't want to be guilty of misprision of treason by blithely using any modern translation (after 1933) that incor­por­ates a stolen manuscript with a forged superior's signature on a contrived agreement.

Which translation is God's word?God tells us how he feels about substituting for the KJV in, (Psalm 50:16-18) “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him—”

Production Values

” (2013) was directed by Allen Hughes, having been written by Brian Tucker, and it stars Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones who did their usual good job. It uses lighting, or lack thereof, to good advantage, the pacing is just right, the acting is dead on, the cinema­tog­raphy works, and its editing makes viewing it a breeze. It's just a tad convoluted, so you have to pay attention, but it's trying to get you to think any­way. The Cath­oli­cism in it is under­stated, like candles burning in a house of mourning. It's rated R for pervasive language, some sex, and violence. It has a runtime 1 hour 49 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I liked “Broken City,” but then I'm easy to please. I rated it highly because of its technical excellence. If you're not too jaded from the last election, here's some meat for you to chew on, and a moral tale to boot.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Chay, Marie. Pilgrim's Pride. Copyright © 1961 by Marie Chay. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. Print.

Webster's Ninth New College Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 1983. Print.