Cillian Murphy did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Mike Kiernan in Broken.
Now it's pseudo in that we do have a lead young female character who goes by a nickname, this time Skunk, who has a brother, given far less focus than in "Mockingbird", a father (Tim Roth) who is a lawyer. Several of these elements though are subverted particularly in the Boo Radley equivalent who in the end is shown to be dangerous in his mental derangement, and the low class father (Rory Kinnear) isn't quite the villain Bob Ewell was in the original film. We also aren't given a real Tom Robinson the closest we get is Cillian Murphy's Mike. We first meet Mike only really in passing at first as Skunk's nanny, Kasia's, boyfriend. Ge is given a more substantial role when it turns out he's Skunk's new school teacher as well. Although Murphy is an actor who often excels at playing the off-beat character or the man in an incredibly tense situation, though I actually liked seeing him here as just an average guy.
There may seem "baiter" roles at hand with Roth's sort of take on Atticus Finch, Robert Emms as the deranged man or Rory Kinnear as the loving yet violent father, who are indeed all good, however even though he's grappling with the least intense material Murphy actually left the strongest impression for me within the confines of his low key character. Murphy in no way tries to change that idea either, but is effective in playing Mike as an unassuming guy who almost accidentally gets caught up in the problems within Skunk's neighborhood. I like the honesty that Murphy brings that just adds a nice bit of life to the proceedings in a character that easily could have been forgotten about. Murphy so naturally realizes the various sides of Mike that Skunk sees him in. He brings the right type of awkwardness in this as Murphy shows sort of the strain as he attempts to be the proper teacher while still having these casual moments though suggesting the the sort of friend he has been in the past.
Murphy's performance actually brings in a nice bit of humor to the film though in a way that is natural to the overall tone of the film. For example his wordless hapless reaction to hearing a not so pleasant message from Kasia delivered by Skunk. Murphy is such an enjoyable yet understandable luckless guy here. Murphy brings the right likability through his earnest approach such as in his scene where Mike saves Skunk from harassment by the local bullies, the daughters of the Bob Ewell equivalent. Murphy in the scene does not command much of anything but he is so good at showing just the most noble intent in Mike as he tries to help. This unfortunately for Mike leads to him being accused of rape by one of the daughters followed up by a sudden severe beating by her father. Murphy somehow makes this somewhat amusing despite the severity of it by in his genuine reactions that show just how taken aback Mike is by it all. He further avoids melodrama even as he chews out Skunk's father for helping him, since Kasia is now seeing him instead, because he captures that undercurrent of comical disbelief with the very real emotion of his strange situation. Furthermore he is even moving as Murphy brings such vulnerability in Mike's later phone call to apologize for his behavior. This performance is notable because he essentially gives Mike a reason for being in the movie since he technically could have been eliminated. Murphy gives Mike purpose by offering the right depth in his little side story that is quietly humorous yet still sympathetic as just the wrong man in more than one way.