3.9 out of 5 stars
"Breaking and Entering" explores the dysfunctions of a family. It features a cerebral approach to a romantic drama tackling the issues of love, trust, and sacrifice through intertwined relationships. The film’s main family members are named "Will," "Bea" (simply pronounced as letter "b") and "Liv," which shows how much of its sense of pace, tone, composition, and writing are all thought off with much metaphors and allegories in mind.
In this film, writer-director Anthony Minghella plays around family dynamics, rebellion, immigration, fidelity, trust, acceptance, and communication, while also raising social issues that discuss the human side of stealing -- both physically and emotionally.
Set in a modern-day London, Will (Jude Law), a landscape architect and a father and husband to a dysfunctional family, follows the life of a young thief that causes many intertwined lives and relationships. He lives with his Swedish wife Liv (Robin Wright Penn), and her autistic daughter Bea (Poppy Rogers), whom he learns to consider as his own. As the tension and uneasiness grow within the home, Will seeks outlet by having an unlikely affair with the mother of the thief who broke into his business establishment. This puts further complications to his already tenuous relationship with Liv and the robbery case of his mistress’ son.
"Breaking and Entering" provides notable texture and depth. However, some plot contrivances tend to lose the spontaneity of human emotional responses on certain scenes. While trying to ultimately yield towards the carefully constructed story, some of its plot mechanisms kind of hinder some of the actors’ and actresses’ more humanly responses so that they can more effectively interpret their roles. It seems to have a minor disadvantage on creating the better emotional thump at the height of some conflicts in the movie. In the same fate as having a too constructive approach to the story, the ending seems a little contrived in presentation as well -- with the emotional side falling a little short.
Law renders a very matured performance for this film as he attempts to deliver the intangibles the script asks to drive the story further. Without speaking much and by merely making her small gestures, Penn endures an emotionally distant character who is unable to communicate her submerged emotions with her husband. Rogers justifies her role as the very hyper and behaviorally-challenged daughter suffering from autism and living her life as a promising gymnast.
Juliette Binoche as the Serbian refugee Amira works well with her Serbian accent and she plays her mother and mistress roles with enough conviction. Rafi Gavron as Amira’s thief son Miro is generally fine for his rebellious adolescent role, but he and Binoche don’t look that convincing as mother and son with their physical features. Vera Farmiga as the foreigner whore Oana gives a strong, dashing performance in her short screen time.
Law as an architect and Binoche as a seamstress make statements for what life has to offer for them and what they build and repair in their complicated lives. However, there seems to be a lack of chemistry between Law and Binoche that the audience don’t get too caught up in the emotions they should have been bringing further on screen.
Amidst the random collisions of classes and cultures, "Breaking and Entering" has a melodramatic premise with a bourgeois presentation about becoming lost and dysfunctional. Cerebral and allegorical as it is, its moral pins and needles mainly work for the kind of setup crafted for it. This cinematic offer connects on a more intellectual level.
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