Tag Archives: Don Mckellar

The Movie Is Broken

Bruce McDonald reinvented the concert film. Instead of shooting performers on a stage, McDonald attempted to tell a story in the context of a concert. This Movie Is Broken follows a young Toronto man and the love of his life, who’s recently returned to Ontario. Their paths lead them to Harbourfront Centre where Broken Social Scene are playing a free show.

Let’s start off with the obvious (if you know me), I don’t like Broken Social Scene. I don’t hate Broken Social Scene, but I’ve never liked Broken Social Scene. The only member of the band I have any fondness for is Amy Millan, but I don’t like Stars, I just like her first solo record1. I don’t even think Feist is hot, I think she’s funny looking. So why did I go see a Broken Social Scene concert film? It’s directed by Bruce McDonald and written by Don McKellar… duh.

The concert played a bigger role in the film than I had hoped for, but I can’t hold that against it, as it is a BSS concert film. I was very surprised when the first song started and I knew it (mildly), however the rest of the songs were as foreign to me as Graham Nash’s output from the 1980s.

McDonald did an excellent job in capturing the visuals, the film looks good, even though he’s showing Toronto as dingy and dirty. To clarify, the film was shot and takes place on July 11, 2009 when Toronto’s city workers were on strike, and hence garbage was piling up, and city parks became temporary garbage dumps.   

The strike played a major role in the circumstances surrounding the show. Broken Social Scene were scheduled to play their annual concert on the Island, but with municipal workers striking, there was no ferry service. They had to cancel the show, and thus throw a free concert at Harbourfront Centre.

So, I’m not begrudging the film the music, and I like the visuals, what don’t I like? Sorry Don, but it’s gotta be the writing. The story is boring, and underdeveloped, it’s adolescent and to top it all off, the acting is brutal.

If you’re a fan of BSS, see this film in a heartbeat. If you’re a fan of McDonald’s and McKellar’s, ignore it, and wait for Hard Core Logo 2.

  1. I should check out her follow up, one day. []


As a fan of Canadian cinema, I’m by default a fan of Don McKellar’s work. Aren’t we all, after all? McKellar wrote Blindness, a film which I really knew nothing about it before I watched it, other than the author’s previous work. In the film, a Japanese man (Yûsuke Iseya) living in an unknown city finds himself in suddenly blind while sitting in traffic. A man (McKellar) offers to drive him home, after getting him to his destination, he steals the car.

Blindness, while usually described as darkness is instead described as brightness. It slowly spreads from Iseya’s character to the Doctor to McKellar’s character to a prostitute who was in the clinic, etc. etc.

Eventually these characters end up in a prison setting as the Ministry of Health1 decides to quarantine the sick. The film turns into a Lord of the Flies situation as one ward tries to wield power over the others, and control the supply of food.

The story’s a bit cliché, but the cast, and acting, is phenomenal. The cinematography however did win me over. Dark, bleak, desperate; bright, shiny, blinding.

  1. The minister is played by Sandra Oh. []