Director: Bruce McDonald
Runtime: 85 min; 2010
Review by: Melody Lau
Fan or not of this ubiquitous Toronto collective, Broken Social Scene’s grandiose and dramatic flare for music is undeniable and almost tailored-made to accompany the big screen, as seen in the past with Half Nelson and The Tracy Fragments.
This Movie is Broken lets BSS’s music shine as a primary character, paralleling the plot of the story itself. No, it’s not a film about the band, per se; nor does it have any relevance to the Stuart Berman biography This Book is Broken (although as a side note, fans should pick that up too for a good read).
The film follows Torontonian Bruno (Greg Calderone) as he reconnects with his longtime crush Caroline Rush (Georgina Reilly) and attempts to woo her at a Broken Social Scene concert. And not just any Broken Social Scene concert.
For those in need of a refresher, this was the free Broken Social Scene concert last summer held at the Harbourfront Centre, after the cancellation of the Toronto Island show due to a debacle involving garbage strikes and Molson Indys (darn garbage and racecars). As a result, this show drew a huge crowd and even saw the reunion of almost every single Broken Social Scene member; probably the most complete lineup we will ever see. It was the show of many people’s summers, if not lives.
Footage from this memorable night is showcased in This Movie is Broken, perfectly narrating the story of Bruno and Caroline. But just as the film narrows in on the emotion and relationship of the two characters, the concert footage aims to do the same, zeroing in on the tiny nuances onstage that truly explain the ten-year bond of BSS. From Leslie Feist and Kevin Drew’s playful hands touching as they sat and watched Emily Haines take the spotlight, to Charles Spearin taking back a song with his daughter, even to the little glances Jason Collett, Amy Millan, and Brendan Canning give one another as they dance and run around on the crowded, yet seemingly cozy stage.
Director Bruce McDonald turns out beautiful shot after another, but it’s no surprise that he’d produce such breathtaking shots of the Toronto cityscape, compiling it along with the Harbourfront footage. Heck, he even made garbage dumps look good.
The main story itself was simplistic and, at times, not the most exciting or groundbreaking plot, but it truly was the music that helped boost everything. Sweet, endearing and entirely heartwarming, This Movie is Broken is perfect for the Broken Social Scene fans out there. Otherwise, it may not necessarily be your cup of tea, but great directing and an indisputably apt soundtrack make this worth your movie fare. Plus, you probably got to see Broken Social Scene at Harbourfront for free, maybe it’s about time you paid them back.
During NxNE, This Movie Is Broken is playing on June 17th, 7:00pm at the Royal Cinema.