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“Broken City”

Rated R:
  Pervasive language, some sexual content and violence

Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Who’s in it: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright

What it’s about:
During a tight election, New York City’s mayor (Crowe) hires an ex-cop turned private eye (Wahlberg) to investigate his wife (Zeta-Jones) for infidelity. Once he completes his assignment, Wahlberg discovers the corrupt mayor has set him up.

Verdict: Although set in present-day New York, this is a throwback to the classic hard-boiled detective stories of Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett. The look of the film is competent, and the performances are strong. Unfortunately, director Allen Hughes (making his first feature without his brother Albert) and writer Brian Tucker just take the detective genre’s clichés and put them in modern dress. A complicated plot is expected, but the script has enough double crosses and hidden motives to push it past riveting to absurd.