The most profitable film in the history of India is the romantic comedy 3 Idiots, which, according to the formal strictures of its industry, is a jolly and epic musical that runs about 70 minutes per idiot. It's hard to beat the locker-room singalong "All Izz Well," where we see sudsy fellows, towels at their waists, caper about and hose each other, while the camera glides over the toilet stalls, peering down at whistling poopers.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the producer of 3 Idiots and the director of the excellent Indian thrillers Khamosh (1985) and Parinda (1989), has stateside ambitions. Broken Horses, his latest, is a modern-day American indie revenge western, based on the kind of script that seemed to come out of a spigot someplace after Reservoir Dogs hit. Here, in a small -- presumably Texan -- town, crimelords meet in the lobby of a gorgeous abandoned movie theater to suss out who the rat is. One hood assembles his automatic while a violinist tears through a Paganini rapture; the hits ordered by another are intercut with the pulping of oranges for his juice.
The story is a borderland/movieland piffle about two brothers — one a concert musician (Anton Yelchin) who has moved to New York, the other a slow-witted townie (Chris Marquette) who as a child gunned down his sheriff father's murderer -- who find themselves at odds with those crimelords. Loyalties will be tested, past sins will be exhumed, and Chopra will demonstrate his facility for the most important aspect of popular American filmmaking: He's excellent at stern-faced men slowly walking toward the terrible things they have to do. But it's never credible, exactly, and not singular like his work back home.