The Broken Giant

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This cryptic low-budget drama features a surprisingly professional cast doing astonishingly amateurish work in a story about a small town with big secrets. At least, the town seems to have big secrets: writer director Estep Nagy appears to be unclear about the difference between subtle storytelling and narrative obtuseness. Ezra Caton (Will Arnett) is a...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This cryptic low-budget drama features a surprisingly professional cast doing astonishingly amateurish work in a story about a small town with big secrets. At least, the town seems to have big secrets: writer director Estep Nagy appears to be unclear

about the difference between subtle storytelling and narrative obtuseness. Ezra Caton (Will Arnett) is a third-generation, small-town preacher whose brooding nature doesn't sit particularly well with the townspeople. A runaway named Clio (Missy Yager) appears at the church door, asking for

sanctuary but stubbornly refusing to say who or what she's running from. Ezra lets her stay, despite the misgivings of his girlfriend (Brooke Smith), her father the mayor (George Dickerson) and the yahoos down at the diner, who naturally assume the worst about the relationship between their young

minister and the pretty girl. Matters are further complicated by the appearance of Clio's father (John Glover), whose reasonable demeanor and protestations of paternal concern seem to mask something more sinister. There's a lot of implied ugliness going on here (apparent sexual abuse, definite

legacy of suicide by fire) and a lot of symbolic folderol: Clio arrives in a harlot's red dress, Ezra types enigmatic messages to his late grandfather then burns them to ashes, stories about swans and windmills and shots shrouded in shadow, as though the dark secrets were about to gobble everyone

up. Writer-director Estep Nagy favors long takes and dialogue studded with long silences, as repetitive and unenlightening as acting class improvisations. With the exception of newcomer Will Arnett, Nagy's actors are experienced performers, but you'd never know it from their awkward

posturing and line readings: The sole exception is John Glover, who makes what he can of his quietly insinuating role. It all ends predictably badly, and takes its sweet time doing so.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This cryptic low-budget drama features a surprisingly professional cast doing astonishingly amateurish work in a story about a small town with big secrets. At least, the town seems to have big secrets: writer director Estep Nagy appears to be unclear abou… (more)

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