As an investigation into American municipal corruption, Broken City is, well, damaged. But as an opportunity for hard-boiled types to trade threats, blows and caustic banter, this modern-day noir works reasonably well.
The story begins in a New York housing project, where scruffy undercover cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) has just dispatched a felon. The victim had it coming, it seems, but that doesn't mean the shooting is strictly legit.
Writer Kevin Smokler spent a good majority of 2012 rereading the books he was assigned back in his high school English classes. He called up some of his former teachers and put together a list of books to revisit.
He looks back at his 15-year-old self and sees a "pretentious," somewhat "idiotic" teenager who was able to pass his classes, but who really missed the themes at the heart of most of the books.