Everything in Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering is torn and in need of mending. Whether it’s Will’s (Jude Law) jacket or his long-term relationship with Liv (Robin Wright Penn) or Amira’s (Juliette Binoche) attempts to rebuild her life in a foreign country. Then there’s Will’s office that’s suffering from chronic break-ins, Liv’s daughter’s autism, Amira’s son’s brushes with the law and the broken down London neighborhood of King’s Cross where it’s all set. And like the flaw’s set within the confines of the film, Breaking and Entering is in need of a little tinkering itself.
The story focuses on Will, an ambitious developer who hopes to revitalize King’s Cross. With his job at the center of his attention, his relationship with Liv is falling apart. Liv’s daughter, whom she had with someone else, is a major part of the rift. After a series of robberies hit Will’s business, his life intersects with Amira, a Bosnian refugee seamstress who moved to London seeking a fresh beginning after the death of her husband. Will and Amira make a predictable, but always juicy, plot device and all heck breaks loose.
Breaking and Entering looks as though it is an extremely disciplined piece of work. It could have easily been set to a mundane backdrop anywhere in the Western world, however the claustrophobic confines of London’s industrial parks help capture the trapped nature of each of the characters. The dialogue is filled with nuance and is often loaded.
But there’s something about the film that just doesn’t feel quite right. It’s cold. The piece that doesn’t gel is found in the characters. The interaction between each of them is often forced. Some inter-connectivity is bound to happen, but the depths at which Minghella goes to connect them all goes over board. By the end it is spinning out of control like a blindfolded eight-year-old playing Pin the Tale on the Donkey after he’s been spun an extra 20 times by his older brother. It’s dizzying and ultimately cold.
I believe the emotion of Breaking and Entering was intended to spin out from its lack of emotion. However, it never truly comes together. It’s hard to empathize for anyone in the film. I don’t care if I wouldn’t invite them over for a beer or a cup of tea, but I wouldn’t even want to ask anyone in this film for the time, a pen or a match.
Although Breaking and Entering was able to hold my attention for its duration, it’s a film that follows its own theme. Minghella surrounds himself with adults who can get by in the world but are still in many ways broken. The film itself is solid in a lot of ways, albeit with an icy limp.
Breaking and Entering DVD Review
Breaking and Entering is shown in its original widescreen format and is enhanced for widescreen TVs. The picture is sharp with no visible flaws. Audio is offered in English Dolby 5.1 and French Dolby 5.1, with optional English and Spanish subtitles.
Writer/director Anthony Minghella provides a soothing commentary that goes into his ideas and thought processes. It is an excellent track that generally avoids a lot of the pat-on-the-back kudos and backlot anecdotes a lot of other tracks provide.
“Lie. Cheat. Steal. Love.” is a behind-the-scenes featurette that runs 13 minutes and is composed of lots of cast and crew interviews and film snippets. Six deleted scenes are available with or without Minghella’s commentary. The film’s theatrical trailer is also included.
Breaking and Entering Gallery