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30 Responses to “Broken Horses trailers (updated)”
Very good teaser. I know its far fetched compliment but this one can pass of as Coen brothers movie in the teaser!
Ad with Quotes from Alfonso written like ‘director – gravity’ shows desperation. I am sure it must have been pushed to all film festivals and when it didn’t get any recognition, they are pushing down to our throats.
“The trailer has just released on the Internet. You’ve called ‘Ugly’ your best work so far. Tell us what’s the film about.
It is. All critics have called it that- Raja Sen and Sudhish Kamath think it’s my best film. World over, critics in France and at other festivals, have called it my best film. Everyone who has seen it, loves it. It’s the first dark film that my mother saw and cried. She said, “Beta bahut acchi picture banayi hain.” (Smiles). It’s quite dark, but it touches the hearts of mothers & fathers. The first thing that people do after watching the film is call their kids, to find out how they are and where they are. That’s the impact it has. It’s my first film that gets the desired impact.”
“It’s a lot of responsibility! If ‘Bombay Velvet’ does not work, filmmakers who are bracketed alongside me will not be given that kind of money to make a film again. So I carry that responsibility with this film, and I carry the trust of Ranbir Kapoor & Anushka Sharma. I have to win that trust and justify it. I can’t take it for granted that the stars are here, so I do whatever I please! For 15 years, it’s been a battle of sorts that films like mine do not feature in mainstream cinema. If I am making a mainstream, big budget film today, I will need to justify the opportunity. I will need to do my best. It’s a big scale film, a big budget film, and at the same time, its quite real. There is entertainment and it is a love story, but the film is universal and goes beyond typically Bollywood. So I must make the film up to that standard.”
@Raghav – absolutely right……it is a PARINDA remake in English….with Donofrio playing the Patekar character….which is kind of good casting, but really, thats all his originality is…..a wee bit underwhelmed at this stage!
In this episode, we hear filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra talking about his recent work and his first Hollywood venture “Broken Horses” which will release on April 10. He vividly talks about this movie which he thinks is completely different from the movies he has produced for Bollywood, and how he’s excited about this film which has the ruggedness of a western film. Though he says publicity or fame doesn’t scare him, he prefers to shield himself from the publicity his successful projects generate as it keeps him from becoming a victim of his own success. As a Kashmiri, Mr Chopra is hopeful that the new coalition government in the state would work towards helping the Kashmiri pandits return to their land.
“Reworking elements from his 1989 gangster saga “Parinda” in a contemporary English-language western, Bollywood director Vidhu Vinod Chopra makes a rocky crossover — to put it mildly — in “Broken Horses.” This overwrought tale of two orphaned brothers and their violent hometown reunion fails to convince on several crucial levels, including plotting and dialogue. Despite name cast members and ace work from regular Clint Eastwood d.p. Tom Stern, the audience for this curio exists mainly in the Twilight Zone, which is where the movie often seems to be set.
Pic opens “somewhere near the Mexican border, 15 years ago,” as a sheriff (Thomas Jane) practices at the shooting range. His older son, Buddy (played as a boy by Henry Shotwell, who has a grating, earnest formality), warns him that they’re going to be late for his younger brother’s violin solo. “Pop, we’re gonna miss Jakey’s recital,” he says.
“Nah, we’ve got plenty of time,” Dad replies — at which point he’s immediately shot through the head by an assassin the movie never bothers to show.
The impressionable Buddy is quickly co-opted by the local crime kingpin, Julius Hench (a drawling Vincent D’Onofrio), who takes advantage of the boy’s desire for revenge and trains him to be a hit man. The job enables him to provide for his younger brother.
Flash forward to adulthood and New York, where Jakey (Anton Yelchin), now a pescetarian hipster, auditions for a philharmonic job and prepares to marry Vittoria (Maria Valverde). He hasn’t been home in eight years, but he’s persuaded to return to see Buddy’s wedding present. The older sibling, whom we’re meant to understand is slow-witted, has made good on his childhood promise to build Jakey a lakeside ranch, complete with a white stallion and a welcome sign (“JAKEY’S RANCH”) that would be perfect for a 6-year-old. Jakey soon learns that Julius, fearful of losing his most-loved hit man to retirement, is trying to have him killed.
Other absurdities abound. Jakey’s former music teacher (Sean Patrick Flanery), now legless, wheels around his home in what appears to be a motorized desk chair and uses a flaming barrel for heat. Jakey, after joining Julius’ gang, convinces him that he’ll pose as a writer for an NYU journal in order to score an interview with Julius’ nemesis, a politically ambitious Mexican gun runner named Mario Garza (Jordi Caballero). This ploy is rendered only marginally less ludicrous when (spoiler alert) it’s made clear that Mario and Jakey are in cahoots. Even so, the scene in which Julius, at his movie-theater hideout, tries to sniff out the mole in his gang is missing a crucial closeup that would have clarified the double-cross.
Many of the devices used are simply cloying. With borderline-offensive mugging, Marquette is made to convey Buddy’s simplemindedness with grammatical errors (“he’s my bestest friend”) and a stammer. (A childlike nature doesn’t prevent him from flying into fits of violent range; at one point we see him beat a man to death.) Apparently, Jakey always carries a baggie filled with $6 that his brother gave him when they were young.
Some of Chopra’s formal choices likewise court bad laughs. A tense, “Goodfellas”-style dolly zoom as Jakey seeks Julius’ permission to accompany Buddy to Mexico is rendered comical when Chopra cuts to the reverse shot — another dolly zoom. In one sequence, the movie crosscuts between a mass hit and oranges being juiced. In a bit of bombast near the end, we watch in long shot as the white horse, which has sauntered into the ranch house, goes running out after gunshots are fired.
The heightened melodrama might play more effectively if “Broken Horses” were stylized at a consistent level, but the proportions are way off, lurching from gritty realism to the near-surreal with little preparation. At a few points, it’s hard not to wonder whether Chopra’s cast and collaborators — who include “creative consultant” Walter Murch — spoke up on issues of plausibility.
Tech-wise, the redoubtable Stern does his usual classy work. (There’s one particularly fine moment when D’Onofrio’s face is cast in shadow by the film reels in the hideout’s projection booth.) The finale’s explosion special effects, however, look glaringly fake.
According to its publicity materials, filmmakers James Cameron and Alfonso Cuaron have described Broken Horses as “an artistic triumph” and “overwhelming” respectively. It only serves to demonstrate that of the many prodigious talents these esteemed directors possess, film criticism isn’t among them.
Notable Bollywood producer-director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, whose credits include the hugely successful 3 Idiots and PK, makes a highly uneasy transition to American films with this weirdly baroque modern-day Western that, while it boasts undeniably imaginative visual and plot flourishes, is far too absurd to take seriously.
After a brief prologue set in Texas near the Mexican border some fifteen years ago in which a young boy sees his sheriff father (Thomas Jane) gunned down by an unknown assassin, the action shifts to the present day. The boy, Buddy (Chris Marquette), has grown into a mentally challenged young man who works as a hired killer for local gangster Julius (Vincent D’Onofrio), whose base of operations is an abandoned (but apparently still functional) run-down movie theater called “The Alamo.”
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Meanwhile, Buddy’s younger brother Jacob (Anton Yelchin), who decamped to Manhattan years earlier and hasn’t been back since, is now a concert violinist auditioning for the New York Philharmonic and preparing to marry the beautiful Vittoria (Maria Valverde). Guilt-ridden over having abandoned his sibling, he returns to the Texas town where Buddy, flush with his ill-gotten gains, has built him a beautiful lakeside ranch emblazoned with a large sign reading “Jakey’s Ranch.” It isn’t long before Jacob finds himself enmeshed in the region’s violence, even killing one of Julius’ henchmen in self-defense.
The story gets far more complicated from there, as Jacob, desperate to rescue Buddy from his criminal employer’s clutches, pretends to join Julius’ gang even while forging a secret alliance with his Mexican arch-rival (Jordi Caballero). Julius soon gets wind of the plot, setting of a violent chain of events which inevitably lead to a tragic conclusion.
Chopra and co-screenwriter Abhijat Joshi clearly demonstrate a fondness for American westerns — the film’s cinematographer, Tom Stern, is a longtime Clint Eastwood collaborator — but they’ve refracted the tropes here through a bizarre prism that is as audacious as it is plain silly. From the legless character (Sean Patrick Flanery) wheeling around in a motorized chair while warming his dilapidated abode with a fiery barrel to the intercutting between the gory gunshots and the juicing of oranges, the film seems to be aiming for a surreal quality that it never manages to pull off successfully.
There is one exception, namely a beautiful shot of a white horse fleeing the confines of a burning building that has a gloriously hallucinatory effect.
Marquette is unpersuasive as the childlike, violent Buddy, not managing to make such lines as “I’ll kill him, and then I’ll wake him up and kill him again” remotely convincing. Yelchin mainly walks through the proceedings as if in a daze (not without good reason, admittedly), while D’Onofrio is clearly enjoying chewing up the scenery as the drawling, Stetson-wearing villain.
Inside some bad movies, there’s a good one, fighting to get out.
Inside “Broken Horses” there’s just another bad movie.
The first lousy idea is a neo-noir about two brothers: a brilliant concert violinist (Anton Yelchin) and a mentally challenged hit man (Chris Marquette). When the fiddler comes home for a wedding, he’s sucked into his brother’s world of cowboy criminals and the Mexican mafia.
The second is a David Lynch daydream. A magical ranch floats in a lake. A legless man rolls around in a motorized desk chair. Criminals plot in an abandoned theater showing old Westerns.
You’ll wish you were watching one of the classic pictures instead.
The preternaturally pubescent Yelchin walks around in a daze. As the developmentally disabled assassin, Marquette seems to be channeling Adam Sandler. Vincent D’Onofrio shows up as the crime boss — chomping a cigar (and the scenery).
Eventually both bad films come together, and it all ends in bloodshed.
“…Loyalties will be tested, past sins will be exhumed, and Chopra will demonstrate his facility for the most important aspects of popular American moviemaking: He’s excellent at filming stern-faced men slowly walking toward the terrible things they have to do. Other things he aces: Those men feeling bad afterwards; those men’s trucks and SUVs cruising along in foreboding caravans; not letting those men perform their violence until just before or after you expect them to; and shunting the women out of the plot entirely.”
“…The film aspires to the lurid and the mythic, all while asking us to invest fully in its sweet but ridiculous fraternal relationship. It’s never credible, exactly, not the way Chopra’s inspired back-home thrillers Khamosh (1985) and Parinda (1989) were. It’s sometimes a little prim, but its suspense scenes are well executed, and Chopra composes complex, arresting images full of reflections and natural split-screen effects that I only wish were illustrative of some meaning. If he kept at it, he might make a bang-up American thriller someday — but is it wrong to wish that his aspirations were instead to inject Hollywood with some of the zest of 3 Idiots?”
Even before its release, Broken Horses has garnered widespread acclaim. Chopra said he finds all the accolades overwhelming.
“It is actually unbelievable. It began in New York, I got a standing ovation. I had a screening in LA. Then I went to London. Then I came to India and they took me to Bangalore where people said it was not a movie but a revolution. It is all very overwhelming,” he said.
Chopra said another reason he took up the difficult task of directing an American film was because he wanted to show Hollywood that even Indian filmmakers are capable of making films beyond the usual song and dance routine.
“…This western feels timeless despite signs of modernity such as the smartphone and the border patrol. The performances (especially by child actors) and production design deliberately echo golden-age Hollywood. Perhaps truth, justice and the American way simply haven’t changed in half a century — at least in the eyes of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the Bollywood director and co-writer at the helm here.
Generational grudge is a universal theme; the good brother-bad brother dichotomy, a Bollywood fixture, also plays out in “Broken Horses.”
While Chopra attempts to crack the American market with a slice of cinematic apple pie, he holds up a mirror to how Hollywood’s tried-and-true narrative of vigilantism connotes who we are, at home and overseas.”
“…Very loosely inspired by Chopra’s 1989 feature Parinda, this wan crime drama plays like the equivalent of a Hindi novel that’s been run through Google Translate. Everything feels rudimentary and slightly awkward, though it’s possible to discern how the material might once have been powerful.”…
“…All of the actors seem lost, and while there are occasional groundswells of raw emotion, the context renders them more goofy than cathartic. Chopra’s amalgam of the earnest and the ridiculous might have worked as a Bollywood movie; transplanted to America (and stripped of musical numbers), it just seems, well, earnest and ridiculous.”
“”Broken Horses” raises the question of what is cockamamie, and what is cockamamie and outlandish and ridiculous yet a perfectly swell time for those very reasons.This one’s just cockamamie without the swell part…”
“Casting is a big problem. Anton Yelchin and Chris Marquette play long-separated brothers, Jake and Buddy, who have grown up in this Neverland of a mountainous desert. In the prologue, the boys are played by younger performers; their sheriff father (Thomas Jane) is quickly shot and killed by an unknown assailant, and we see Buddy taken under the wing of the local cigar-chomping, Stetson-sporting, Hank Quinlan-in-“Touch of Evil” crime boss named Julius Hench. He’s portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio, and now and then, when delivering a line while flicking a dead bug off his rearview mirror, for example, D’Onofrio reminds us what character actors often do for a living: add the spice to a pretty dull pot of chili.”
“The same director’s “Parinda” followed the Bollywood custom of interpolating song and dance into any and every genre of movie. I wish “Broken Horses” had gone all the way and given everyone at least one number. Instead, we settle for labored scenes of self-conscious montage (a string of hotel assassinations cross-cut with shots of an orange getting squished in a juicer) and Marquette’s Buddy, grinding every little dialogue exchange to a dead halt for another round of tears.
Broken Horses was filmed in Death Valley and in Victorville, Calif., the latter being the real-life locale of the dude ranch where “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz sobered up long enough to revise “Citizen Kane.” Several scenes unfold in Hench’s lair, an abandoned movie theater, where Buster Keaton’s “The General” plays in the background as D’Onofrio plots his next move. Sounds novel, no? And yet the results lie there, loxlike.
In “Parinda,” one of the brothers speaks of “rotting away in America.” The remake suggests a movie made by the “Parinda” character while he was stuck out West without much to do.”
Chopra should have first written the story with american characters, made it into bestseller, allowed people to read and anticipate the movie. The way godfather was created. Then it would have been easy to swallow the product for the american critics and audience.