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Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy Matching Wits In Psychological Drama Broken

Daniel Clay’s debut novel, the 2008 work Broken, centered around Rick Buckley, a teenaged protagonist who earns the nickname “Broken Buckley” after a neighbor, Bob, savagely beats him for a rape that never occurred. The book goes on to document how (or, more specifically, when) a human being like Rick can be pressed toward his more animalistic traits.

Given the subject matter, I’m thrilled by the cast director Rufus Norris is compiling for his big-screen adaptation. The feral Tim Roth and an unsuspecting Cillian Murphy have joined the cast of Broken, which plans to shoot in the U.K. with backing by BBC Films and the BFI Film Fund. According to The Hollywood Reporter, they’ll be joined by Rory Kinnear, Robert Emms, Zana Marjanovic, Bill Milner and newcomer Eloise Laurence in the production, though parts have not been determined. Laurence likely will play Skunk, the young girl who witnesses Rick’s brutal beating and deals with the repercussions over the years.

The challenge for screenwriter Mark O’Rowe will be finding a narrative line through what several critics called a plotless and mean-spirited book. Either Roth or Murphy likely will play the older Buckley, though it Murphy lands that role, Roth no doubt will play Skunk’s schoolteacher, Mr. Jeffries. Either way, these appear to be meaty parts that both actors can dig in to. Character studies like this have the potential to pick away at scabs and dig deep into an individual’s psyche, reflecting harsh lessons back on the audience. With Roth and Murphy in tow, Broken has all kinds of potential. Let’s hope Norris, O’Rowe and Clay can realize it.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.