Broke: A Review

Broke is a Canadian documentary, made for TV, that shows the dark sad life of a cynical pawnbroker in inner-city Edmonton where living is difficult.

At A1 Trading, David Woolfson and his creepy but friendly assistant, Chris Hoard, work hard to keep the business going. David talks about pawn rates and how his shop works. He also explains that certain customers  are irate and difficult. Some of them haggle with him for the price they want and others refuse the deals he offers. Sometimes David himself is a bit irate and tells customers he doesn’t want their garbage. David appreciates Chris but says he’ll have to leave sometimes. However, the two get along with each other as they work day after day.

Chris considers Dave to be a trustworthy friend while Dave thinks of himself as a fatherly figure. The majority of footage shows Dave talking to customers and making deals, mostly resulting in customers getting less money than  they want. Dave enjoys insulting people in the course of his work. The customers are poor and mostly trade random objects; when they aren’t trading, they’re asking for money.

The people are hilarious in this documentary. It shows how interesting an unlikely friendship between two completely different  people can be. It also shows what it’s like to work with homeless people, delinquents, drunks, and many others with issues. David Woolfson does seem like a bitter old man but that’s what makes his character interesting to watch. The footage really isn’t much than showing what happens in the pawn shop, but it’s fun to see how David deals with customers from regulars to newcomers. Chris himself is an interesting person as his backstory is rather twisted, but you really enjoy what he’s like.

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