Breaking And Entering

Breaking And Entering


Reviewed by: Chris

A fox crosses the road at night; two youths break into some architects' premises; an architect allows a prostitute and a lover to undermine his long-term relationship. This ambitious and strained metaphor is in many ways as unconvincing as the film. The mystery of how the thieves get in is mirrored by the silliness of how Jude Law's character, Will, allows himself to be compromised. Even more puzzlingly, he gets to know one of the thieves and everyone lives happily ever after.

Jude Law, in many respects, reprises his character from Closer. Breaking And Entering, however, is closer to a male emotional fantasy. It toys with morally ambiguous relationships, but, unlike Closer, it is not rescued by a masterful script. Anthony Minghella is a talented writer, but one gets the feeling that here his reach is greater than his grasp.

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Instead of hiring a security firm, Will stakes out the premises in the disreputable Kings Cross area of London. He is overly tolerant of a prostitute who repeatedly gets into his car and makes advances. When he discovers the identity of the thief, he plays Mr. Detective instead of going to the police. Yet this sloppy minded individual is supposedly a partner in a successful company making large scale redevelopments of inner city areas. Worse still, when he becomes enamoured of a woman from Eastern Europe (Juliette Binoche), the supposed chemistry (essential to the story) seems non-existent.

While providing a many-layered look at an unusual part of London, Breaking And Entering fails to hold together to the extent we might expect from such an array of talent. There are occasional gems - "There is a moral to this tale: jam makes fingers sticky," as Will, Viv and their daughter share a rare moment of closeness; but it tends to make us look for a depth of meaning that isn't there. Similarly, when Liv exclaims, "When you hurt this much you don't know how to hurt twice," we are unconvinced by her tolerance and devotion to her pitifully philandering partner.

It succeeds in holding our attention throughout, especially by using unexpected emotional intensity, but one might rather wish it hadn't. The denouement beggars belief as incorrigible personalities suddenly turn over a new leaf and discover courage and goodness. What starts with the pretensions of an arthouse movie climaxes with trite happy endings that might almost make you ask for your money back. Minghella has entered an exciting area of murky moral values: what a shame the end result is so broken.

Reviewed on: 15 Nov 2006
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A stolen laptop leads to revelations of loss, love and the quality of mercy.
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Read more Breaking And Entering reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray *****

Director: Anthony Minghella

Writer: Anthony Minghella

Starring: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn, Rafi Gavron, Martin Freeman, Ray Winstone, Poppy Rogers, Vera Farmiga, Caroline Chikezie

Year: 2006

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK/US


Leeds 2006
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