The Broken Circle Breakdown – **

Posted: October 27, 2012 in 2012, Disease of the week, Drama, Dramedy, Flanders, XX

The Broken Circle Breakdown is riding on the wave of great Flemish movies that not only score well at the home box office, but also get attention on international film festivals. Amazing really, how we finally have the talent (and the money) to produce movies that matter. Amazing even more is that the Flemish audience finally accepts home-made movies! Even when they are not easy or commercial!

I had a bit of doubts about this one though. It’s sold as a romance between a tattoo artist and a bluegrass musician, who have to deal with a sick child. Not quite the most attractive pitch out there! But it attracts crowds and gets rave reviews. The soundtrack even made it to the top of the charts, which is strange for a genre that hardly ever gets airplay in this region. So why not see it, right? However, in the end, my doubts were just. It isn’t the most attractive movie out there.

First the good stuff: The acting is superb! Veerle Baetens is ready for an international career! She’s starring in a British tv series soon, but Hollywood is waiting! This girl can take ANY part! She has that talent of making you forget the actress and focus on the character! And she can sing! Amazing!

What also works in this movie, which is very rare, is the non chronological story telling! It really makes sense and it never confuses. It’s not original though. Nor is the rest of the story.  La Guerre Est Declarée used the same trick and has the same topic: a romantic couple dealing with the possible loss of their child. But The Broken Circle Breakdown keeps it much more simple and much more striking. The adding of the bluegrass music only helps the story and it gives it a certain uniqueness that a lot of people seem to appreciate.

In the end though, it’s a romance between a tattoo artist and a bluegrass musician, who have to deal with a sick child. Pretty boring stuff. My thoughts constantly drifted away, wondering how this movie will come across in the US (a country that is both praised and loathed by the blue grass artist) , or who on earth decided to give the tattoo artist the tattoos she has, or how silly the subtitles in French were, or which concert halls the band were performing at, or how the frontal nudity was ‘functional’, or why the atheist tirade was so long, etc… I prefer to have those thoughts AFTER the movie has finished, not during its screening.

A bit disappointed.

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