Breaking And Entering

Breaking And Entering

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Breaking And Entering

Anthony Minghella’s commentary is surprisingly long winded. Although speaking continuously he never refers to what is showing on the screen. It sounds more like a lecture on the subject of immigration, London’s cosmopolitan mix, the pleasure of Juliette Binoche, the “infinitely rewarding” experience of working – third film in a row – with Jude Law and “shooting in Elstree next to Big Brother,” although exteriors were in Bow, not Kings Cross, where the film is set.

Minghella is the child of immigrants. His mother and father appear in his films as extras. The warmth of his Italian heritage comes across, overlaid with the veneer of an Oxbridge education. He hasn’t written and directed a low budget film in England since his first, Truly Madly Deeply (1990). The idea for Breaking And Entering began 15 years ago, but has changed considerably since. “Why were they Bosnian?” he asks himself about the boy thief (so athletically played by Rafi Gavron) and his mother (Binoche). “I have no idea.”

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Ray Winstone’s scooter-driving CID cop is unexpectedly liberal in his attitude towards teenage villains, as well as eccentric in his methods. Minghella admits that this character was based on a real policeman. It is also interesting to note that Binoche spent time in Sarajevo “to marinate herself in the culture.”

The commentary is full to bursting with opinion and yet lacks those all important cinematic details. Are you intrigued to know that he could not afford his usual crew, but the one he hired at a lower pay scale did a terrific job, or that Martin Freeman “is the Philip Seymour Hoffman of British film”?

What is unusual, however, is Minghella’s admission that the boy thief’s truancy mirrored his own. He bunked off school so much at that age he was expelled.

Making Of featurettes follow a predictable line – talking heads, shots of actors hanging around, a botched sequence resulting in laughter, etc – to which this is no exception. Producers, actors, the production designer and Sydney Pollack talk about the film – v chummy and complimentary. Anthony Minghella joins in. He continues to be diplomatic, as he was in the commentary, and the closest he comes to making a controversial statement is when he compares the detached style of Robin Wright Penn with the full frontal emotional commitment of Juliette Binoche. The two standouts of this section are Poppy Rogers, who plays Liv’s (Wright Penn) obsessive gymnast daughter, and Binoche talking in perfect English about going to Sarajevo, helping Gavron in his first film and laughing uncontrollably at the end, which fits Minghella’s description of her absolute honesty and delight as a person and a performer.

The deleted scenes are interesting in that they show at least two sub plots that were abandoned later for the sake of clarity.

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2007
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Breaking And Entering packshot
A stolen laptop leads to revelations of loss, love and the quality of mercy.
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Product Code: BUA0022501

Region: 2

Ratio: 1:1.78 (16.9) Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary by writer/director Anthony Minghella; Making Of featurette; deleted scenes; trailer

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