'succeeds in its endeavours to weave its interrelated vignettes into a pained portrait of the shadows of society... Performances service the story admirably, augmented for dramatic effect but never ostentatiously over the top. A wry balance of comedy and thrills shines through in the portrayals, most evidently in the casting of comics Fleet and Mooney... it's the contrast that reasonates, with The Day of the Broken ruminating on disparity and darkness.'
'strikingly composed , the film's depiction of everyday evil is almost unrelenting, but it also has a philosophical counterpoint, with ruminative dialogue that allows for several strong performances, most notably by comedian Greg Fleet as a heroin addict near the end of his tether.'
Craig Mathieson, The Age (The Day of the Broken : Assault on the senses)
'S J Dutton doesn't hold back with his dark and confronting debut feature'
Australian filmmakers rarely explore narrative social realism, avoiding showing the audience a slice of life not often potrayed in mainstream cinema. John Duigan's film Mouth to Mouth, was a rare excursion into the problematic underside in Australian society, while Bert Deling's Pure Shit, Esben Storm's 27A, and Kriv Stenders' Blacktown challenged pre-conceptions of an orderly middle class culture in Australia.
Simon J Dutton's confronting exploration of the seedy underbelly of aspects of Australian life The Day of the Broken uncompromisingly and realistically, shows us a group of people caught up in drugs, crime and violence. Propelled by a woman's search for the killer of her child, the film presents us with 7 people caught up in manipulation and revenge set in the seedy streets of urban St Kilda representing any city's unpleasent sub-culture.
Reminiscent in style and tone to Scorsese's Mean Streets, this film is a relentless portrayal of people caught up in poverty, drug-dealing and incipient pay-back, culminating in the killer's identification, amidst suffering and a cycle of violent revenge. Dutton's film (in which he also plays a key role) exemplifies the importance of emphasising strong scripting and characterization over the need for large budgets. The dialogue is sharp and naturalistic, and the direction is measured and crisp.
Greg Fleet is excellent as the central character whose situation is both fraught with pain but laced with sardonic humour. Indeed the script, despite being mired in fruity language, offers some occasionally witty observations. Another comedian, Lawrence Mooney, similarly traverses the starkness and humour in the script. The music score by Norwegian group Deaf Center adds another layer to the grim storyline with a stylish European tone and a rhythmic cadence.
The Day of the Broken is a fine film that should not be readily dismissed as a violent exploitation film. The film is a cohesive exploration of people trapped in unsavoury situations and is a worthy slice of life portrayal of gritty realism.
Film review by Peter Krausz, Movie Metropolis, 3NRG, 99.3FM (Former Chair of the Australian Film Critics Association)
'A FIERCELY UNCOMPROMISING, SHARPLY INTELLIGENT THRILLER ... the cleverly constructed plot keeps us guessing who the killer is until the very end. Multiple storylines unfold slowly and separately, with connections remaining unclear for a large portion of the film. It's a risky decision but it makes for gripping viewing.
Whether you find it confronting, funny or maybe a little bit sickening, it's likely that THE DAY OF THE BROKEN will stay with you well after you leave the cinema.'
'The Day Of The Broken showcases a gritty underside to our city we're not often privy to. It's an intense expedition through the minds of the damaged and sometimes simply deranged.
This is a film that can make the hardest filmgoer flinch...
It doesn't unfold like a natural mystery which leaves you watching with bated breath...
Comedic relief is provided by Greg Fleet as Bob, who has apparently been hiding his impressive acting chops behind a comedy career.
Deaf Center provide an ominous soundtrack so perfectly suited to every beat and moment of the film it's possibly one of the best scores in Australian cinema of recent times.'