By Don Simpson | November 29, 2011
Director: Clifton Archuleta
Writer: Clifton Archuleta
Starring: Julien Oblette, Omid Harrison, Eric Garner, Keith Smith, Connor Boyle, Alex Kent, Coty Walker
Two bullies (Alex Kent and Coty Walker) destroy Ahmad’s (Julien Oblette) bike then chase him into a crowd of older neighborhood thugs (Omid Harrison, Connor Boyle, Eric Garner and Keith Smith) who in turn come to Ahmad’s rescue. Hopelessly stranded without a functioning bicycle, Ahmad is left with no choice than to accept the protection of the gang. But then the tests of power, loyalty and strength commence and the question remains… How far Ahmad will go?
Within Broken Cycle‘s 12-minute run time, writer-director Clifton Archuleta dutifully takes on the seemingly perpetual cycle of violence, specifically with urban youth. The symbolism of the titular broken cycle leads us to believe that there is still some semblance of hope that the cycle can indeed be broken. We can only hope that Archuleta is right. In the end, it is up to the youth themselves to make good decisions and realize that they can be strong and powerful without hurting other people.
I love Peter Wigand’s beautiful nighttime cinematography; but it is the toned-down performances that really won me over. All of Ahmad’s decisions seem organic and natural for that character and Archuleta totally steers clear of creating caricatures of — or worse yet, glorifying — the gangster lifestyle. Broken Cycle approaches its subjects carefully and thoughtfully, and I really appreciate that.