Review by Mark Merrell
The movie opens with Shaun (Francesco Filice, Project Cupcake) waking up in a bathtub, where he passed out some time ago. He makes his way to the living room, where he sees Sarah (Lea Lawrynowicz, Chronic, Bang, The Facts In The Case Of Mister Hollow) curled up on the couch. She appears to be sleeping. Shaun sits down next to her. He’s still trying to get himself together. He nudges Sarah, and calls her name. She doesn’t budge. He tries harder, but she isn’t waking up. Suddenly, the realization that Sarah has died hits Shaun. Then he notices the table in front of the couch is littered with pills. Sarah has killed herself, and Shaun starts freaking out.
Shaun calls 911, but as soon as they answer, he hangs up. Panicking, he calls his ex girlfriend, Amy (Caleigh Le Grand, Dead Rush, Blood Theater, Late Night Double Feature). She hasn’t seen or heard from Shaun since they broke up two months ago. He begs her to help, but doesn’t explain why, or what’s happening. Eventually, Shaun convinces Amy, and he’s all too ready to get moving. He rushes out of the building, running into Kenny (Patrick McFadden, The Interior, Paranormal Witness, Britney Ever After). Kenny is Sarah’s boyfriend. He and Shaun have been best friends for years. He’s shocked at Shaun rushing by, avoiding him. He calls out to Shaun, and all he can say is not to blame him, and that he is sorry. Not understanding, Kenny yells back. Shaun jumps quickly into a, share-a-ride car in the back seat, and the driver speeds away to Amy’s apartment. The driver (Adam Buller, Greater Than, Blue Collar Boys, Shadows Over Sugar) keeps talking to Shaun about how people that commit crimes rarely got away with it, unlike the old days. Meanwhile, Shaun’s phone keeps ringing from the 911 operator calling him back. Shaun is clearly in a panic.
Finally, Shaun makes it to Amy’s place, and he explains a little to her about what’s happened. He finds out Any has spoken with Kenny, whom he says owns a gun. Shaun is sure Kenny is out to kill him, so he runs out of Amy’s place. Soon, Kenny shows up, asking where Shaun is. Not getting anywhere with Amy, he pulls a gun, threatening her. She finally convinces Kenny she doesn’t know where Shaun is going, and he leaves. Amy calls Shaun, and they set up a rendezvous, and the film pushes things into high gear.
Written, Directed, and Shot solely by Justin McConnell (Skull World, Minutes Passed Midnight, Mark Of Kane), Broken Mile was filmed entirely using one camera, with McConnell behind the lens. Incredibly, he shot everything real time, all himself, in an unbroken take. The very clever handoffs also cultivate character development, pulling the audience into the movie. We are with Shaun, then he leaves and then we are with Amy, and so forth. McConnell used a stabilization platform for the camera. The result is spectacular. His extraordinary efforts of continually framing, maintaining focus and aperture through the constantly moving process is brilliant. This also called upon the actors to run without a safety net. Flub a line, and it’s a complete do over. Moving from different locations inside and outside, as well as weather conditions (at one point it starts raining hard during the night, and the actors persevere through its entirety, as does the crew) and vehicles over a decent distance really put everyone in the cast and crew through their paces, and they pulled it off. In a few scenes, the acting is close to threadbare. Just as quickly, the group pulls it back in, and away we all go.
The original score by Sean Motley is spectacular. Pounding heartbeats, mixed with the edge of your seat musical score without a doubt takes this movie to another level. Similar to the Warriors (1979) score by Barry De Vorzon, it makes your heart race, and your hands sweat.
Broken Mile is original and entertaining. It’s also spellbinding when you realize the extraordinary effort it took to pull it off this well by it’s entire cast and crew.
Riveting thriller “Broken Mile” Begins North American theatrical run July 28th & VOD/Digital/DVD and Blu-Ray release August 15th, 2017