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Breaking and Entering
DVD disk
May 24, 2007 By: Jason Adams
Breaking and Entering order
Director:
Anthony Minghella

Actors:
Jude Law
Juliette Binoche
Robin Wright Penn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When Will Francis becomes obsessed with finding the thief who stole his laptop, it leads him to a troubled teenager and the boys beautiful immigrant mother. Despite being in a long term, albeit struggling, relationship, Will finds himself inexplicably drawn to this other woman without regard for the consequences.

And being a movie, of course there are consequences.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
BREAKING AND ENTERING starts off strong. The first hour sets up a great drama about modern relationships, with carefully drawn out characters and subplots. The main story is good enough, but director Anthony Minghella also layers the film with other intricacies to keep things fresh and intensea daughter with a personality disorder, the criminal underworld of Kings Cross, Bosnian immigrants in British society, and the notion of privacy in a technological world. However, even with all these pieces in place, the second half of the movie seems content to throw the puzzle to the floor instead of finishing what it started.

The film is nicely directed; the imagery of London, the juxtaposition between the characters, the way the camera lingers on Juliette BinocheMinghella knows what hes doing. The same cant be said for his script though. Aside from the occasional crappy dialogue (what is it with the main character and metaphors?), BREAKING AND ENTERING falls apart at its very core plot point; we never understand why Jude Law falls in love with Juliette Binoche. We get hes mildly unhappy with his girlfriend at home, but he literally sees Binoche for three seconds and the next day hes over at her place acting charming and British. Its just sloppy writing. The worlds of the two characters are well realized separately, but when they come together in the second half it feels clumsy and unfocused. I like the way things tied together in the end (even if Jude Laws rationale isnt too logical), but then, like the film as a whole, the good also comes with some bad. Theres a penultimate scene with Law and Robin Wright Penn in the street that drops the emotional ball so badly I actually laughed.

So its half good, half bad, but Ill go out on a limb and say that the performances slightly push BREAKING AND ENTERING past the average mark. I couldnt shake the feeling that Jude Law was too young to play a character weathered by life and a ten-year relationship, but he does well acting the part. And Juliette Binoche should win an award for Best Actress Playing a Bosnian MILF. The Offices Martin Freeman and THE DEPARTEDs Vera Farmiga also shine, but in small supporting roles that are ultimately forgotten. Henderson has a romantic subplot thats pointless to the story, while Farmiga literally disappears just as her character was starting to get interesting. That seems to be a recurring theme with BREAKING AND ENTERING.
THE EXTRAS
The usual

Commentary by writer/director Anthony Minghella: Just your average commentary by the intelligent, soft-spoken director. The most interesting thing was hearing his original idea for the story: A couple comes home to discover someone has broken in and left them things instead of stealing them.

Making of BREAKING AND ENTERING (12:51): Your everyday BTS doc, but well produced and good balance of coverage between the director, actors, and the films themes.

Deleted Scenes (8:46): I was hoping for some new stuff to fix the problems I had in the second act, but no luck.

A Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
BREAKING AND ENTERING reminds me of that classic saying: For every girl who looks like Jessica Alba, theres still a man who is sick of putting up with her shit. Anthony Minghellas latest film examines how complications develop in the seemingly perfect lives of the most attractive people. Its one half of a good movie and barely recommended. In fact, if youre looking for a relationship drama and havent seen Todd Fields LITTLE CHILDREN, Id rent that movie before this one.

Extra Tidbit: To break in to the warehouse and make their escape, the thieves use a sport called parkour, which has recently been seen in movies like CASINO ROYALE and DISTRICT B13.
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