I came to The Brøken,with high expectations as a result of Cashback and wanting to see what else it was that Sean Ellis could do. The film kicks in with an impressive atmosphere of subtle disquiet that seems to literally brood with ominous things about to happen. There is a constant paranoia generated with shots of people peering out sinisterly from behind blinds and cracks in doorways or reflections of light that give them red eye where you cannot be sure if it is a sign of their being a mirror person or not. The Brøken is not nearly as stylistically adventurous as Cashback was, although Sean Ellis remains consistently on the ball and keeps the mood of menacing quietude seamless.
The Brøken is an undeniable attempt to conduct another variation on the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Indeed, there are times that scenes seem written as a direct homage to the remake Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) like the character of the psychologist (Ulrich Thomsen) who you cannot be sure is not a double, or the woman insisting that her boyfriend is no longer her boyfriend. Much of what is going on is certainly familiar and it is easy to work out what is going on if one has seen any of the versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The small difference here is that for much of the films running time the theme of body snatchers sits on an ambiguous line as to whether it is real or in Lena Headeys head due to neurological damage.
The theme of sinister happenings going on in mirrors was interestingly mirrored in that years more high-profile Mirrors (2008), although that played the idea for far more in the way of outright horror and less the theme of alienation and doubles. On the other hand, the idea of doppelgangers emerging out of mirrors to eliminate their real world rivals is a silly one when you think about it although The Brøken is a film that takes itself with a seriousness that defies you to laugh at such an idea. The film never offers any particular explanation or rationale as to why this is happening.
Despite its familiarity, The Brøken does develop some interesting twists. [PLOT SPOILERS]. There comes the point where Lena Headey is on the phone to her brother (Asier Newman) and tells him the woman whos following me lives at Pembroke House and he replies But Gina, you live at Pembroke House, and the entire film spins around, leaving you wondering who is whose doppelganger. The interesting twist that follows is that the point-of-view character we have been following is the one who has been the doppelganger all along. It is a twist that has to blur credibility somewhat ie. all the doppelgangers are portrayed as cold and emotionless, whereas the Lena Headey doppelganger is seen throughout as warm and sympathetic, only to suddenly become cold and emotionless once the twist is revealed. Nevertheless, it is enough to make a familiar story work in some modestly interesting ways.