'Meant to be Broken' — A dark comedy which is full of its share of errors
'Meant to be Broken' is a dark comedy which focuses on a completely different issue — a dying man who is a stickler for following rules.
When it comes to dark comedies around the world, people seem to dabble with real-life issues which no one talks about, like death, political issues, mental illnesses, etc. However, 'Meant to be Broken' is a dark comedy which focuses on a completely different issue — a dying man who is a stickler for following rules.
The movie, which premiered at the 'Dances With Film festival' this year on 13th June at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, takes a small concept and wraps a whole story around it. Directed, co-written and produced by versatile filmmaker Jonathan Zuck, the movie is about an old Harvey (Dave Coyne), your typical white-collared, everyman lawyer gets to know that he is dying from an incurable form of brain tumor, he feels hopeless about his life.
However, he comes into contact with free-spirited Luke (Nick DePinto), a bad boy who likes to live life on the edge, who takes him on a road trip to multiple states, where they break every single silly law each state has. On the road, Harvey rediscovers himself, puts to rest some of his demons, and realizes that there are some rules that are just meant to be broken.
During their pursuits, the duo meets Shifty (Nadia Mohebban), a harmless young girl that they accidentally end up kidnapping from her office during one of their exploits. However, instead of returning to the safety of her home, she decided to follow Luke and Harvey on their adventures, so as to break free from the expectations she’s facing in her life.
Together, these three lawbreakers end up taking one long crazy journey together, which, in the end, makes them all realize that they really need to appreciate life in whatever form it comes.
The movie starts off with a sudden announcement of Harvey's brain tumor, after which it takes a mellow pace as the audience is given time to grasp his decision to team up with Luke and find ways to break laws in the country without getting caught for them.
As per Zuck, on the matter of the film's pacing, he says, "I see the first act as a transition from the life of Harvey to the life of Luke. Then in the second act, there's this divergence when we see those lives don't seem to be compatible. Finally, you see in the last act that Harvey has found his own voice and Luke has actually made his way quite a bit towards Harvey and discovers what's really important."
With camera work which mostly involves shooting the insides of a car while Luke and Harvey take their road trip along the different states of the country, the movie is pretty funny, especially if you decide to leave your judgments behind.
However, it has one concerning scene, where Shifty dresses up as a terrorist in order to break the law and rob a neighborhood deli. Given the current political scenario in the country, the scene was a bold move, although highly prone to getting misunderstood.
'Meant to be Broken' really raises the question of a sense of morality, since the movie glides beyond the point of liberation and raises a serious concern — is it really possible to separate the message on the basis of humor, especially when it can be easily misconstrued as propagating criminal behavior.
"As for the morality, it's really all a metaphor for making your own choices, living your life to the fullest. Harvey remains our conscience, reminding us to hold on to our moral center and the other two find there way there. It's a dark comedy. No one intends for people to become actual criminals," says Zuck.
The direction of this version of "comedy of errors" is far beyond expectations, and Zuck has done a commendable job with bringing out each character's vulnerability to the brink for the audience to see. And through these vulnerabilities, the characters somehow provide an insight into some of the common troubles people face in their everyday lives, including some things which they feel cannot be altered or reversed.
Moreover, the character developments during the 120-minute screening were slow paced, but appropriately placed which helps the audience get in the exact mind space that the characters are in, which somehow justifies their actions as the movie progresses.
As for the musical aspect, it takes up the shape of the mood in the surroundings, gliding comfortably from mellow to heavy, exactly what music in the car should sound like. The dialogue delivery throughout the movie is pretty much impeccable, and the characters sound so convincing at times that they can even make you forget it's not their real lives that they're portraying on the screen.
With effortless editing and scene constructions, 'Meant to be Broken' makes for a good watch on late nights when you are feeling indecisive about what movie to go for, especially when you have your glass of wine all poured out.