DRAMA; 1hr 30min

STARRING: Tim Roth, Eloise Laurence, Cillian Murphy, Robert Emms, Zana Marjanovic, Bill Milner

Culture shock: Laurence and Roth

Eleven-year-old Skunk (Laurence) is surrounded by well-meaning yet inadequate adults. Her mother’s absconding with another man has left her kindly solicitor father, Archie (Roth), perpetually hard-pressed, while au pair Kasia (Marjanovic), who cares for diabetic Skunk and her teenage brother, Jed (Milner), is driven to distraction by her teacher boyfriend (Murphy). Their cul-de-sac neighbours aren’t faring any better in a culture of tension and frustration that erupts into an attack on an unsound young man (Emms as Rick).


Director Rufus Norris is known in Britain for theatre and opera but his feel for downscaled cinema is innate. Sparky young Skunk, who witnesses everything through a filter of innocence that could be her undoing, is pivotal to screenwriter Mark O’Rowe’s shaded adaptation of Daniel Clay’s 2009 novel, and newcomer Laurence — very much a little girl but with the watchfulness of someone older — is never out of step. If Broken is a splintered prism, she is the light left inside.