Breaking and Entering

With each additional film, Anthony Minghella becomes a bit more dull. While his films (like Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley are gorgeous creations, they lack a sense of emotion that is necessary in order to them to be effective. This is evident here in Breaking and Entering, a movie about secrets, fidelity, and infidelity. Breaking and Entering is a well-made film with strong actors that do a good job, but there is no life to the material. The movie is dull, and regardless of what happens, the viewer is never able to establish much empathy for the characters, especially in the latter parts of the film when they start doing things that are supposed to be dramatic, but tend more towards the "dumb" side.

The movie centers around Will Francis (Jude Law, All the King's Men, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events), an architect at the firm Green Effect. GE has a new building in King's Cross, a run down part of London that they are hoping to revitalize through a large development project (now this is potentially more interesting than the rest of the movie). Francis lives with his long-term partner Liv (Robin Wright Penn, Nine Lives, A Home at the End of the World) and her daughter Bea (Poppy Rogers, Nicholas Nickleby, From Hell). Bea has some issues, including insomnia and what seems to be a type of OCD. Liv loves Will, but doesn't trust him as a father - not out of anything he has or hasn't done, but out of an intense desire to protect her daughter.

GE loses most of their new computers in two break-ins. Will's computer contains many personal effects including photos and videos. The thief, Miro (Rafi Gavron), a young Bosnian, becomes obsessed with what is on the computer. The life that Will has is the life that he and his mother Amira (Juliette Binoche, Bee Season, Cache) do not. They escaped from Bosnia and are refugees in London. Amira gets by doing small tailoring/alteration work. Miro has had run-ins with the law before, and is supposed to be in school, but spends most of the day with petty theft.

There is a lot of plot going on here, and it takes a while before Minghella moves the story forward. It feels like he is setting up something grand, but nothing of this scale ever materializes. Will discovers it was Miro who stole his computer, and follows Miro to his home. Not quite sure what to do, he pretends to have alteration work for Amira, and soon finds himself attracted to her. At the same time, Liv becomes more protective of Bea, so Will's life at home becomes strained. The viewer is supposed to believe that the distance from Liv drives Will to Amira, but everything feels so fake. Worse, Minghella bides his time, letting things unfold extremely slowly. At one point, Will has a bizarre friendship with a local prostitute (Vera Farmiga, The Departed, Running Scared) that is played for laughs more than anything else. Binoche and Penn are good, but the central focus is on Law, who, like some other times, comes across as self-absorbed.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
2 hours, Rated R for sexuality and language.

Back to Movies