Broken Wings movie review: Many average elements in this elegy to the police

The parts involving Nicholas Saptura’s Adji and Ariel Tatum’s Nani are the best Broken Wings (Sayap-Sayap Patah) has to offer.

Published: 15th December 2022 12:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th December 2022 12:28 PM   |  A+A-

A still from the film Broken Wings (Sayap-Sayap Patah).

A still from the film Broken Wings (Sayap-Sayap Patah).

Express News Service

Rudy Soedjarwo’s film that’s inspired by true events is an odd creation. At once an overdone elegy to police officers and their fractured personal lives as well as a disjointed terrorism narrative, it sometimes loses us in what it’s trying to say. 

The parts involving Nicholas Saptura’s Adji and Ariel Tatum’s Nani are the best Broken Wings (Sayap-Sayap Patah) has to offer. The problems between husband and wife stem mainly from the former’s inability to dedicate adequate time to family matters. His demanding police work has him out the door on a minute’s notice. Despite being heavily pregnant, Nani is as understanding as can be. Adji, for his part, feels guilty for not being around enough and vows to do better.

But as a senior police team leader tracking down a crazed terror mastermind bent on brainwashing people to carry out his destructive plans, there is no time to rest. When a station gets blown up in an attack, Adji narrowly escapes with his life but loses close colleagues. Nani cares for him deeply but decides she cannot risk the health of her unborn child. Her move to Jakarta to stay with her mother leaves Adji with a difficult choice.

While Broken Wings is watchable piecemeal, it is some of the supporting cast that lets the story down. Leong (Iwa K.), the terror kingpin, who spouts grandiose monologues about “your sacrifice will be worth it”, “attaining a place in heaven” and “this is the test of your faith”, is reduced to nothing but a poorly sketched caricature. It is hard to be disturbed by any of the character’s unhinged rhetoric because his acting is scarcely believable.

Crazy eyes and foaming in the mouth while indoctrinating green, submissive recruits don’t quite cut it. It’s a wonder when you see most of his underlings quaking in their boots as he delivers lines; a better performance or performer was required to elicit such a fearful response. It is only his right-hand man, Murod (Edward Akbar), who comes off as appropriately menacing. 

Another discernible flaw in a fictionalised narrative based on real events is the objective of the terrorists. While it is accepted that terrorism, per se, is to spread destruction for destruction’s sake, there is scope to understand the motive or motives (however ridiculous or out of tune with reality they may be) behind a group’s actions. There is absolutely none in Sayap-Sayap Patah. 

Inciting apart, Leong’s crazed end goal has no sort of plausible planning at its root. The suicide bombing of the police station early on is handled in such a ham-fisted manner. Adji notices a visibly suspicious man lurking at the precinct but it takes an age for him to act. By the time he sends his officers after the decoy, it’s too late. This scene is representative of the subpar writing and execution that run through a majority of the plot.

One aspect that is well thought out is the set of interrogation scenes. For most of Broken Wings, Sadikin (Nugie), Adji’s superior at the detention facility, questions suspects in a manner befitting of a police officer. No violence or threats ensue as he converses casually to glean vital information. In one instance, he even tells Murod that he’s off home to watch football if the latter isn’t willing to talk. This false sense of security is a deliberate attempt to make you feel comfortable, with an impending crescendo ready to knock you on your feet. One can see through these wiles, sure, but the last twenty-odd minutes do make for a fairly interesting contrast.

The emotional bond between Adji and Nani is perhaps Sayap-Sayap Patah’s highest point. 
That being said, they ought to have done away with the lamenting montages and plaintive music to showcase their sorrowful parting and complicated relationship. The problem is that it’s overdone. Conversations about the upcoming baby, Nani’s perfectly understandable fears and Adji’s guilt are expressive enough to be identifiable. 

Broken Wings has engaging parts within it but the overall writing makes it hard to understand what exactly the film is driving at. That it is an ode to police officers and the complex lives they lead, is the only clear thing. The heroism it attempts to portray through gallant, maudlin scenes ought to have been tempered to achieve the powerful effect it was, no doubt, going for.

Film: Broken Wings
Director: Rudy Soedjarwo
Cast: Nicholas Saputra, Ariel Tatum, Iwa K., Edward Akbar, Nugie, Aden Bajaj, Poppy Sovia
Streaming on: Netflix
Rating: 2.5/5


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