In an age where $8000 can barely fill up your gas tank independent film maker Alex Ferrari has managed to create a short 20 minute film that rivals much of what Hollywood has produced this year. The film, bridging a gap between the mind-warping Memento and the gritty Saw, establishes a group of characters that are as intriguing as they are mysterious. Broken‘s only problem is that once the runtime is up you immediately want more only to find out that’s all there is…for now.

The story starts with a bang as Bonnie (Samantha Jane Polay) wakes up suddenly to a gunshot and finds a mysterious man sitting in her kitchen. He abducts her and the film proceeds from there. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are glimpses to a much bigger picture that would flesh out the main characters even more. The short runtime does limit the establishment of any of the background characters (such as the handful of guys and gals waiting for Bonnie to arrive after she is abducted). Ferrari’s story makes the viewer question what is really going on and just as we think we may have some idea, the credits begin to roll in the stylistic backwards crawl akin to David Fincher’s Se7en.

The entire film was produced for $8000, which is pretty damn impressive when box office bombs like Troy and Van Helsing cost upwards of $200 million and don’t offer any of the same rewards. One of the biggest cost cutting tips, as stated by the production team, was the filming of only one location. This setting, filmed in an actual Mental Health Hospital, is picture perfect complete with flickering lights, old pipes, and an atmosphere geared for a film such as this, Fincher would be pleased.

Being a nut for the unconventional camera angle, the cinematography impressed me the most. There’s something about placing a camera behind a carton of orange juice that makes me smile from ear to ear. Some of the scenes reminded me of the recently released Sin City and its graphic novel “framed” scenes with an extreme close-up in the foreground and a foreboding character in the back. The influence from some of Hollywood’s darker films is apparent, especially in the aforementioned setting for the film but it isn’t a copy by any means as Broken is injected with its own style.

The special effects, of which there are over 100, are also top notch for the most part. Some of them are very easy to pick out (such as the sparks from an impacting bullet) and others are subtle enough to the point where only the VFX wizards who constructed them would know. Even the movie’s weakest effects are better than you would expect based on the budget.

Alex Ferrari and producer Jorge F. Rodriguez have produced a film that brings independent filmmaking to a whole new level. Hacks like Uwe Boll can make one atrocious movie after another and single handedly destroy an entire genre, these two guys should be the one’s to watch in the future. If this is what these guys can do with $8000; I can only imagine what they could do with $60 million and a very much hope I get to see that one day.

For more info on Broken, including more screenshots and a trailer, visit the official site.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!