This movie is broken

Billed as a “rockshow romance,” Bruce McDonald’s (Hard Core Logo) latest release This Movie is Broken documents a whirlwind romance between two lifelong friends, set to the backdrop of the free Broken Social Scene (BSS) show at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre in July 2009.

Bruno (Greg Calderone) has one night left before the girl of his dreams Caroline (Georgina Reilly) moves away to Paris to study anthropology, so they decide to spend it at the much-hyped lakeside BSS show.

The show – which actually took place on July 11, 2009 – had originally been scheduled at Olympic Island, but when the city workers went on strike and the parks of Toronto began to overflow with garbage, the concert became a free event staged at Harbourfront.

The film captures the juxtaposition between some of Toronto’s nicest areas and the insurmountable piles of rotting trash throughout the city – a sight and smell that won’t soon be forgotten by locals.

McDonald intertwines Broken Social Scene’s performances with snippets of the developing romance between Bruno and Caroline in a conceptually impressive manner, but while the cinematography is intriguing and gorgeous to look at, the actual storyline falls flat when compared to the concert footage.

The characters have some endearing moments (mostly due to consumption of alcohol), but never become truly likeable or empathetic.

The relationship between Caroline and Bruno seems pretty superficial and an unexpected twist towards the end of the film seemed to leave the audience detached and confused rather than delightedly surprised.

Nevertheless, This Movie is Broken is worth a watch if only for the spectacular live show.

The now-famous 2009 concert saw the reunion of some of BSS’s most prodigious players, when more consistent members like Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew were joined on stage by Jason Collett, Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, plus Evan Cranley and Amy Millan of Stars.

Hits like ‘Almost Crimes’, ‘Fire Eye’d Boy’, ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’, ‘Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl’ and ‘Bandwitch’ are captured beautifully on film, sharing one of Toronto’s most memorable shows in recent history with an even larger audience.

This movie is highly recommended for fans of Broken Social Scene, but for those without previous interest in the band, don’t bank on the story being enough to engage or entertain.