If you speak Norwegian or Danish, it's "The The Fraction." Kind of an
odd title, eh? The film has nothing to do with Scandinavia or with
fractions, so I think that the people who decided on that spelling just
thought the ø looked really cool, because
Scandinavians are scary, with those blue eyes and those horned hats. Or
something. As Count Floyd would say, "Pretty scary, eh kids?
It's sorta like how they always turn the R's around in films about
The Brøken (or The Broken) is a slick psychological/supernatural mystery in the
Hitchcock/Serling style: lots of stylish design, lots of slow tracking
shots, lots of foreboding, lots of people acting mysterious for no
apparent reason. Usual deal. It is refreshing in that it is a major
departure from the general direction in which horror films seem to be going these days. It
is not particularly gory and it features very few "boo" moments. It tries
to create its chills with an ongoing atmosphere of impending doom, and it
tries to hold the audience's attention by pulling back the veils slowly,
occasionally even increasing rather than decreasing the story's opacity.
Is that good? Well, maybe. It's a classy film, art-designed and
sound-designed to the nines, filled with expensive helicopter shots, a
slow-mo car crash, and some dependable performers. Those are the good
points. Those are also, in a sense, the bad points. The film's forward
movement is so deliberate and so saturnine that the ongoing replays of the
slo-mo car crash sometimes feel like the fastest parts of the film. To say
that the pace is langorous is like saying that President Obama is kind of
a bad bowler. This film isn't just moving slowly; it makes Solaris seem
like the opening scene of Roger Rabbit. This would make a nice, nifty little 22-minute episode of The
Twilight Zone. Unfortunately it is padded out to 90 minutes, and the extra
68 minutes are not filled with guilty pleasures, the way Brian DePalma
would do it, but with footage of people acting puzzled and with the slo-mo
crash being repeated again and again.
I guess I might have been able to live with the pacing if the basic
premise had been plotted better, but it is one of those films where every
scene is pushed forward with the gimmickry necessary to produce a chill in
that scene, without regard for whether the entire story still holds up in
the face of those gimmicks.
SPOILER AHEAD. SKIP THIS IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE FILM.
It's a doppleganger movie. Lena Headey spots another Londoner who looks
just like her and seems to be driving her car. She follows her twin to an
apartment, where there is an inexplicable picture of Lena and her dad
(Richard Jenkins). Skip forward. Lena gets in a car crash and can't quite
remember what happened, but all around her, people seem to be changing.
Her boyfriend seems like a different guy. The world seems to have a Body
Snatcher thing going on, presumably engineered from "beyond the mirror."
The big surprise ending is that the Lena we follow is actually the evil
Lena from beyond the mirror. She killed the real Lena, then got in a car
crash, forgot about the killing, and forgot that she was evil.
The important thing here is that virtually none of the preceding scenes
make sense after that revelation. For example, Lena complains to the
doctors that her boyfriend is not really her boyfriend. He seems like a
different person. She was right, of course. The entity was not the
boyfriend of the real Lena. He was the evil replacement from Mirrorland.
The problem is, how could Evil Mirror Lena have known he was different? She never met
the real boyfriend. What's more, Evil Mirror Boyfriend should not have
felt "wrong" to Evil Mirror Lena, since he was the one she was meant to be
You can continue with those sorts of observations for virtually every
scene. The script hides the secret from us in the clumsiest possible way -
by presenting us with detail after detail that could not possibly be true,
given the secret, then defying all the rules at the end and pulling the
old soap opera switcheroo where the kindly babysitter who robbed the house
turns out to be Ms. Evil Twin Sister, even though Ms. Evil could not have
known the combination to the safe.
So I was not only yawning while waiting for the big secret, but I was
also annoyed once I knew it.
But the film is technically superlative. So there's that.