Eye For Film >> Movies >> Breaking And Entering (2006) Film Review
Anthony Minghella was a playwright before he won an Oscar for The English Patient and went on to make big Hollywood movies (The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain). With his new film, he is back where he started. Despite international stars Jude Law and Juliette Binoche (both exceptional), Breaking And Entering feels genuinely homegrown, with an intelligent script, beautifully handled by actors and director.
For once - the joy of it warms every literary heart - the spoken word, the written word, leads the story through a maze of mistaken emotions and damaged desire. Minghella understands the nature of the new man and, to an extent, the new woman, who is the old woman in better clothes.
Will (Law) is what used to be called "a trendy architect," in the sense that he works in a deprived area of London, has a fabulous office in a converted warehouse and believes that the ethics of good planning can make a difference to the lives of "ordinary people." His marriage to Liv (Robin Wright Penn), a Swedish beauty, partly educated in the States, has reached a plateau where conversation is masked by a protective barrier of safe sentences. Her 13-year-old autistic daughter (Poppy Rogers), with an obsessive interest in gymnastics and batteries, unintentionally comes between them. Being civilised, Will and Liv refrain from public outbursts and let the silence articulate their distance.
Will's office is robbed by a gang of agile young Bosnian immigrants, including Miro (Rafi Gavron), who lives with his mother Amira (Binoche) in a King's Cross estate. She has established a one-woman tailoring repair business, knows nothing of Miro's criminal activities and is fiercely protective of him. She talks of returning to Sarajevo.
After the burglary, Miro is given Will's laptop by the gang boss, thus establishing a connecting thread between the robber and the robbed. Minghella cleverly brings Will and Amira together and their liaison, if that is the right word, which it isn't, because the needs of one are not the same as the needs of the other, is manipulated with infinite subtlety. "I am giving myself to you," she says. "I want it to be worth something." The value of love alters like stocks and shares and Will doesn't play the market with any degree of understanding. He dabbles, while assuming a position of control, which he considers the male prerogative.
Each of these characters have lives outside the script and each are given difficult decisions to make. Nothing feels false, with the exception of Ray Winstone's laid-back CID detective, who might have dropped in for a natter and a pint. Emotions are confused and real. As in life, the conclusions are satisfactory and unsatisfactory at the same time, implying that breaking and entering is a metaphor, as well as a reality, and love is a mystery best left unsolved.
Read what the director said about the film at the Edinburgh BAFTA screening in our news story.Reviewed on: 04 Nov 2006