Movie Review: Broken Horses
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Vincent D’Onofrio
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Rating: Two Stars

There are a ton of examples that demonstrate how difficult it is to transition from Bollywood to Hollywood. With the exception of Shekhar Kapoor who gained critical acclaim with the first ‘Elizabeth’ film, no one from the industry has really been able to cross the border. With ‘Broken Horses’ veteran filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra makes a very bold attempt, but unfortunately falls short of succeeding.

‘Broken Horses’ is a remake of the 1989 classic Parinda, rewritten for the Hollywood landscape by Chopra along with his regular Abhijat Joshi. This film is set in New Mexico and plays out like a western, in contrast to the noir treatment of the original. The Nana Patekar character is served by Vincent D’Onofrio, who stars as a shady gangster Julius that manipulates a young kid into joining his organization.

The Jackie Shroff role is played by Chris Marquette, except that there is a layer of mental instability added to his character. The character, named Buddy is mentally fractured after he witnesses his father die, and remains childlike in behavior even after growing up. The Anil Kapoor character is played by Anton Yelchin who is named Jacob.

If you have seen Parinda then you’ll be familiar with what happens next, because ‘Broken Horses’ follows the plot quite faithfully. Jacob and Buddy unite after years, the latter decides to quit the gang, and Julius isn’t happy about it. Cue in Julius’ attempt to get Jacob out of the way, and Jacob’s attempt to get himself and his brother out of the situation.

There are some interesting things in the film, like Julius taking advantage of Buddy’s childlike innocence and influencing him into doing unspeakable things. The thing is, the stuff that made the original so great are not updated in the modern context. As a result you start to see the contrivances of the film, and the even bigger logical gaps. The attack on Jacob is done by a biker, when Jacob is in a moving car, a horribly contrived way to make Jacob escape the attack.

The slow pace does not help at all, it only makes the loopholes more obvious. More jarring are plot threads that are attempted but never investigated. Julius’ character has some sort of a weird tick regarding candles but it is never fully explored. Even by the end of the film we’re never told who actually shot Jacob and Buddy’s father. In fact we’re never even told why Julius has such an affinity for Buddy that he’d rather kill them both than let him leave the gang. None of it falls together in the end, and if you’re a fan of ‘Parinda’ you’ll be left with a hole in your heart.


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