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Breaking and Entering
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Though not perfect, what is?

8/10
Author: MLachey from Abroad
18 December 2007

This movie, much like the subject of this comment, questions what it is to love, to suffer, to exist...

The depth contained in this work is incredible as it draws out the angst in the everyday struggle of life; the light and the dark, the happiness and the sorrow. It shows the true vulnerability of a man, but also of mankind. If the words would have been properly stated in the first moonwalk, "this is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" I would liken the phrase to this movie for truly, one small step for Will Francis (Jude Law) into sin and self deception showed how Man has leaped into sin and self deception.

Parallels are shown in the architecture and design, as well as the talk about the architecture and design, of buildings and cities. Light becomes an analogy as does the cold... Metaphors.. metaphors are spoken and referred to in order to shed light on the truth. You get glimpses of the past, sins of the past.. but you also get a view of the future, a brighter-cleaner future. At the end of the movie you will feel empty. You'll get a sense of questioning but then it dissipates because you realize you no longer require answers. You just have to accept and absorb.

The title becomes clear; everything is about breaking and entering. Whether it is for crime and punishment - love and hate - sins and forgiveness it is the only thing that is not in contrast, thus it brings everything together.

A remarkable dramatic work that accurately shows the struggles of living for all walks of life. Of course this movie was not perfect.. but like I said from the start and like this movie demonstrates - what is?

Definitely worth seeing, I just hope you can see it all and can relate to this post when you're done!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Quite engaging with plenty of class but not as deep or as smart as it thinks it is

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
4 December 2007

Will Francis is an architect who has just gone into new premises with business partner Sandy as part of a proposed development in Kings Cross. Will has challenges at home with an autistic teenager and a distance between himself and partner Liv. After a series of break-ins at their new offices, Will starts staying late to stake it out, hoping to work out who is doing it and why. This puts extra strain on his home life – or perhaps it acts as an escape from his hone life. He spots the thief (teenager Miro) and follows him back home – not entirely sure why. Soon he is engineering a meeting with the boy's immigrant mother, starting a chain of events without a clear reason.

In an attempt to convince her that I am a thoughtful guy, I put this on my LoveFilm queue because she had watched part of this before the airplane she was watching it on had its entertainment system fall over. Otherwise it had not really appealed to me that much and the reviews had been mixed when it came out. Watching it made me feel like I was watching something meaningful and important but yet for some reason I couldn't connect with it emotionally. The material and the various characters made it interesting enough and it just about held my attention but I couldn't get with the characters. The motivations just seemed off and I couldn't see much in the way of reality backing up the script and coming out in the detail of the performances.

It is a shame because mostly the film is set up to be a classic character piece. Direction from Minghella is excellent, with great cinematography and a wonderfully reflective score throughout but it is his writing that lets it down. I'm open to the idea that I just didn't "get it" but I did struggle to find people and truth within the characters. It is not the fault of the cast because they do pretty well. Law works well and he does seem to be trying to find his centre but he couldn't help the fact that some aspects of his character don't ring true. Gavron holds his own very well considering those around him. Binoche is solid and works well and Penn is better than I expected. Freeman is so-so though while Winstone, Chikezie and a few others are good additions even if they don't have much to do.

A quite engaging but rather hollow film then even if it does have its moments of beauty. The class is there for all to see but somehow the script just doesn't have the depth that it thinks it does.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Another multi-layered character piece from Minghella.

9/10
Author: dead47548 from United States
8 January 2008

Rarely have I seen a film cover as many layers so flawlessly as this film does. The title itself as a bounty of different meanings to it. Taken literally, it refers to the several break-ins that occur throughout the beginning of the film that spiral everything that is to follow. However if you look deeper, you can find several different metaphorical meanings to the title. It could be referring to the lives that we see. They are already broken, and we enter these lives to see how they play out and progress. It could also be referring to the relationship between Will and Amira. He breaks in to her life and as a result, she enters his and we see how his life changes as a result.

I also loved how Minghella studied the parallels between the two mother-child relationships in the film. Both deal with troubled children and mothers who are trying their best to create the best lives for their child. On one spectrum there is Amira and Miro. Due to an absent father and poor finances, Amira is forced to work as hard as she can to provide for Miro. However, he gets involved with criminals and becomes more and more entwined into these break-ins, as he is the only one who can actually be punished by law since he's the only one who physically breaks in. Amira has to work as much as she can and, as a result, she neglects Miro which leads to his actions. On the other side of the spectrum there is Liv and Bea. Bea suffers from a very extreme case of obsessive compulsive disorder and this takes a heavy toll on the lives of her and her parents. Unlike Amira though, Liv has a husband who works very hard and can provide constant economical support to the family. This allows her to quit her job and spend all of her time with Bea, doing her best to make sure she's alright. It's very interesting to see how these two similar relationships progress throughout the film with opposite approaches to trying to fix the problem.

Another interesting story that Minghella subtly unfolds is how immigrants are treated and how they live in a more established structure. In poverty-stricken areas people like Amira can be very well and have great jobs, such as a pianist. However when they have to pick up and move, it's extremely difficult to find any kind of job so she has to resort to being a tailor working out of her own home. This element is also displayed with Erika, who has to resort to being a cleaning lady and is automatically accused when the break-ins first start.

Minghella does a great job of layering so many magnificent and deep stories under one overlying story of how a break-in causes a man to re-evaluate his life. As always in his pictures, the score and cinematography are some of the best I've ever seen. Simply marvelous work. The performances are all brilliant. Jude Law is phenomenal in a very subtle display of a troubled man, dealing with numerous problems, just trying to be happy with his life. Binoche is deep and absorbed in her role as a mother who will do anything to protect her son. Penn perfectly portrays a mother who is trying to keep her relationship stable, while dealing with a very troubled daughter. Even the supporting actors nail their roles. Martin Freeman, as always, is absolutely hilarious and provides some much needed comedic support. Ray Winstone and Vera Farmiga are severely underused, but they nail their parts perfectly.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing story marred by some careless direction

7/10
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States
13 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for The English Patient (1996), wrote and directed this interesting film starring Jude Law as an architect who gets involved with a Bosnian ex-pat (Juliette Binoche) and her son. I found it mostly satisfying, but somehow unconvincing. The fact that Jude Law is a few years younger than either Robin Wright Penn, who played his wife Liv, or Binoche who played Amira was not the problem. What bothered me was the incompleteness of Will Francis's character. To make this work, Will had to be a philandering sort of guy who this time gets involved in something more than the usual sexcapade. We need to see Will fooling around before he gets involved with Amira, otherwise his insistence on quick sex with an exotic woman just doesn't make sense. Not only that but the lesson he presumably learns from the experience is not as compelling.

And as much as I admire Juliette Binoche I really thought her character could have been spiced up a bit. She needs to look more exotic and to have a kind of saucy streak above the straight-laced mother and seamstress role she is forced to play. We needed to see her as sexually frustrated, yes, but also as someone who is awakened by being made love to by Jude Law! For some reason Minghella underplayed this possibility. I think she should have just gone bananas over Will, and that would have created the kind of emotional conflict that allowed her to feel guilt about arranging to have the photos taken of her and Will in bed together. Although this was blackmail for her son, it was--or should have been--a betrayal of love. Instead of exuding such a goody-goody persona, Amira should have projected a more compromised person, someone who would cynically sleep with a guy and conspire to photograph him in a compromised position instead of first asking him if he would help her son.

There were some schlocky details that Minghella did not pay enough attention to that detract from the effectiveness of the film. First, it is not clear why Will should be able to sleep so soundly in the afternoon in adulterous bed of Amira's friend that her friend can enter and take a dozen or so shots of him with Amira moving around on the bed in different poses. I kept expecting to see something showing us he was drugged! The fact that the police detective befriended the boy was okay. Cops sometimes do that sort of thing. They like to play big brother (in a positive way), but I could not believe that Will would refuse to help Amira's son when she is literally on her knees begging him! Minghella played it in this artificial way so as to set up the climactic scene when Will and Liv arrive together at the hearing. In real life Will could not say no when Amira is begging him because (1) he does want to help the boy, (2) she still has the power to embarrass Will and his wife even though she has given him the incriminating photo negatives, (3) it is totally out of character for him to suddenly care so much about the affair coming out, and (4) he immediately confesses it to his wife anyway.

In the scene when Will returns to his wife after the stakeout smelling of the prostitute's perfume, we have Liv smelling it, and then when he opts for a shower, she pulls him close for immediate sex. I think he should have explained it. After all, he was not involved with the prostitute. He rejected her and that would be believable. In fact in his place I couldn't resist talking about this strange prostitute (played very enticingly by Vera Farmiga in a bit part). It would be interesting. Apparently Minghella was making some point by having Liv want to have sex with him immediately; however that was never developed. We are left imagining that the perfume or the thought of her husband with a prostitute somehow aroused her, which seems unlikely, but if that was the case, it needed to be developed.

Why the robbers would come back to the scene of the crime a third time to commit yet the same crime in the same manner is beyond, I would think, the reach of most of the world's dumbest criminals, and these guys weren't that dumb.

And there were some dangling strings: why DID the prostitute steal his car and then return it? Why was the boy so lost and then suddenly so repentant and seemingly on the right track? This was underdeveloped.

The scene with the autistic daughter Bea at Will's workplace was played so heavy-handedly that we knew what was going to happen before it happened--and what was the point? By the way, her relationship with Will was also not fully developed. (Perhaps Minghella's script was too demanding for the director!) I am sorry to be so critical but this could have been an outstanding movie, and I get irritated when directors go to print so quickly. Minghella is never going to be a great director until he takes a page from Stanley Kubrick's book and polishes every scene and irons out the wrinkles. As it is, Breaking and Entering is a pretty good film, and certainly no Jude Law fan should miss it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Juliette Binoche steals the show

7/10
Author: pc95 from San Diego
14 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Breaking and Entering meanders in the beginning and becomes more about infidelity than anything else. I thought the film really picked up once Juliette Binoche entered in as the main camera presence - about from the 2nd half on. Her character and acting were 1st rate as a scared, lonely, mother. Jude Law also turns in a performance perhaps better than some of his other movies. Their romance is strange but more believable and far more captivating than his steady relationship with Robin Wright Penn's character. As it was then, I didn't really care much for the family exposition with Law as a live-in boyfriend. It didn't give anything back. And Penn's daughter as having developmental/behavioral problems is distractingly annoying. So, the 2nd half of the movie really made it a worthy watch, especially with Binoche.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A bit confusing at times BUT none-the-less a FIRST RATE dramatic love story.

9/10
Author: Jay Harris (sirbossman6969@yahoo.com) from United States
6 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This very finely written & directed film by Anthony Minghella had a very limited run.I just cannot figure this out. AWFUL comedies like "40 Yr Old Virgin" play in over 3000 theatres & this real good movie & many other good films like CHILDREN OF MEN have next to no release at all. As per the old song from THE KING & I "Tis a Puzzlement"

The title has a few meanings in itself,(SPOILER ALERT) It is not the robbery at the beginning of the film, It is the breaking of the emotions of the characters & entering there psyche, that this film is about.

Jude Law is an architect creating a building at KINGS CROSS a London neighborhood. The area is like a miniature United Nations, We are dealing here as well with the breaking & entering of various diverse peoples thoughts etc,

Robin Wright Penn lives with Jude & they have a delightful daughter about 10 years old with problems as well.

Newcomer Rafi Gavron (one of the robbers who broke into Jude Laws building) is a refugee lad from Bosnia living with his mother played by the magnificent Juliet Binoche. as you can guess Jude & Juliet meet, & have an affair.

Now enter in the picture Ray Winstone as a policeman, & future STAR Vera Farigna as a prostitute., We break & enter into all these persons psyche,due to the clever & skillful screen play by Mr, Minghella.

ASs you can see at times this becomes a bit confusing BUT the acting by all is superb, I wish the Oscar people gave out an award for outstanding cast like the Emmy's & the Golden Globes'do. This film would have been nominated. The entire cast is just about pitch perfect.Thanks to the excellent direction Of Mr. Minghella.

A few more notes then I will finish. this is Rafi Gavrons first feature he is only about 20 years old (I did not look his age up), he does portray a slightly younger lad, & I do predict a bright future for him.

Now on to the main star JUDE LAW, When OH when is he going to get his Oscar.. He is like the old time actors from the 30's & 40's . He can do dramatic loves stories, comedies,He even can do villains. & gives excellent performances in all. He has a smile & charm that is dazzling,. in short HE IS A STAR.

Rent this film, I am sure you will like it.

Ratings ***1/2 (out of 4) 92 points (out of 100) IMDb 9 (out of 10)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Complex and emotionally challenging...for Hollywood

6/10
Author: D A from SoFla, UsA
7 May 2007

Politely provocative slice of contemporary London falls short of aspirations but remains compelling enough to recommend as thoughtful entertainment. A sleek production helps punctuate these dramatic, intertwining narratives all revolving around the recent break-ins occurring at a brand new warehouse. Around this circumstance, competent writer/director Anthony Minghella weaves a little web of intrigue to help highlight the many insinuations this title bears. Exuding a sophistication the material cannot quite live up to, Breaking and Entering still remains a mature enough study into the psychology of adults to be met with class in the States.

Though it is a British film, Minghella knows how to mix his country's knack for depth with America's taste for more simplified, dumbed-down material to come up with a greatest common denominator of mainstream drama. With a sharp soundtrack, filming grimy nightlife around King's Cross through the seductive lens of Benoît Delhomme helps counter many of the scripts blemishes, which do come up more then one would hope. It is a script with more vague intentions then grave actualizations, only becoming thematically viable when a redemptive core gathers near the end.

Helping this literate soap opera along, an adept trio of star players breathe life into the film's many gray areas. Jude Law, Robin Wright Penn, and Juliette Binoche all sink their imaginary teeth into the emotional strain that surrounds an escalating connectivity. Law is one of Hollywood's most sensitive romantic lead actors, but his skills of perception still lack in the face of female counterparts, particularly Binoche in an assured take. Penn, also a great actress, plays more second or third fiddle in the narrative hierarchy, and despite relatively same amounts of screen time, feels under-utilized. For all it's structural and thematic annoyances, Breaking and Entering still proves that the popcorn is a helluva lot crunchier overseas.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Synergy doesn't always work

Author: Harry T. Yung (harry_tk_yung@yahoo.com) from Hong Kong
3 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Breaking and entering has two stories both of which have considerable potentials for full development (not to mention a few interesting side characters that are also rather tempting). With something starting rather haphazardly, it attempts to link the two main stories in such a way that they become interactive, fueling a third. It may be a little too harsh to call what the movie ends up with "a mess", but by trying to do too much, this movie simply gets nowhere. Coming out of the cinema, rather than wanting to reflect on what you have just witnessed, you would more likely miss brilliantly simple and simply brilliant movies such as "A straight story".

Story number one is a problematic family. yuppie architect Will (Jude Law) and beautiful common-law (I suppose) Swedish wife Liv (Robin Wright Penn) could be in their blue heaven with 10-year old Bea (Poppy Rogers) making three. But they're not. Bea is only Will's step-daughter (not much background but not really important) which is not a big problem because Will is a decent and loving step-father who tries hard to make the family work. The problem is that Bea has a form of mental disorder that manifests itself in things like insomnia, hyper-tension and all sorts of phobia about what she eats.

The second story stems from the fact that Will and his partner's office is in the undesirable area of King's Cross, the target of the two architects' project of revitalization. Two break-ins takes us to the life of 15-year-old delinquent Miro and his mother Amira (Juliette Binoche), Bosnian Muslim immigrants seeking a better life but finding a struggle against prejudice and poverty.

And here's something that is not merely haphazard, but becomes far-fetched. In tracking down the thief, playing his own private detective, Will ends up having an affair with Amira. Her motivation, however, is more utilitarian than emotional, as it's a mother trying everything to protect her son. That part at least is not too far-fetched if you think of a character played by first class actress Tilda Swinton in a movie called "The deep end" (2001). And Boniche looks a lot better as a mother than a lover (think of her segment in "Paris, je t'aime").

The biggest problem with this movie is the emphasis it places (or misplaces, rather) on the affair, which is entirely unconvincing and devoid of chemistry. Law recites the lines that he doesn't seem to believe in. The story of the vicissitude of mother and son comes across a lot better, with some touching moments. What is most interesting, however, is the relationship between Will and Liv. Law and Wright (sorry Sean!) have some good moments, dancing tantalizingly between an unsalvageable gulf and a normal (sometimes even health) fight between couples. I particularly like the scene when after a fight, they reconcile through talking about thing Swedish, ABBA, The Beatles etc.

At the end of the day, this movie, as I said, is trying to do too much. It seems to want to rise above melodrama, to social, political, psychological drama and more, but ends up biting off more than it can chew, even for the director of "The English patient", "The talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cold mountain".

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

½ The Movie Would Have Been Twice as Good

4/10
Author: dshamoon from New York, NY
1 December 2006

Breaking and Entering is The Academy Award winning director of "The English Patient," Anthony Minghella's latest film. This is not an epic war romance, the film is set in modern London. If the movie was half as long, Mr. Minghella would be picking out a new tux for the Oscars. But, the two hour long film is too confused and overstuffed with ideas and character development to be bearable. See if the following synopsis gives you a headache: Will, (Jude Law) is an architect who has just opened up a slick new office that looks like an Apple store. Unfortunately, it is in a "developing" part of London famous for its hookers. His office gets robbed a few times and he decides to find the culprit himself by staking out his own office with a techno loving prostitute, (Vera Farmiga). The "free-running" thief turns out to be a fifteen year old boy, Miro (Rafi Gavron) who works for a gang of Serbian thugs related to his late father. Will tracks down Miro but ends up falling in love with Miro's mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche) a soundless-piano playing seamstress.

Need some Excedrin? That's only about half of the movie and I haven't even mentioned Will's depressed light-box loving, long time girlfriend Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and her gymnastics obsessed behaviorally challenged daughter.

I was lucky enough to attend a screening with a Q&A with Minghella after the film. He's obviously enjoying the clout of having an Oscar. It gave him the opportunity to write and direct this film inspired by some of his own experiences. The director even answered some questions from the audience. One of the best was, "how much did you get from Apple?" The film has a lot of Macs in it and Macs kept getting stolen from the office. At one point a character actually says, "these Macs are great aren't they?" It seemed like a clear case of product placement. Minghella said Apple gave him no money. He explained that it was an inside joke. He's Apple obsessed and his office in London kept getting its Macs stolen.

If you can sit through it, the acting is good. Law's performance is subtle and interesting. He has real chemistry with Both Binoche and Wright Penn. Unfortunately the characters are so developed they do not leave much room for the plot.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A metaphorical art work!

6/10
Author: linyuwei1 from Kaohsiung, Taiwan
29 November 2006

It's a story full of metaphors. The title 'Breaking & Entering', in fact, captures and summarises all metaphorical scenes in this film: breaking an old relationship and entering a new one, breaking a window and entering a building, breaking a class boundary and entering a new middle ground. Even a construction site where the architect, starred by Jude Law, works symbolises a place composed of frequent breaking activities (knock down old buildings) and entering activities (constructing new buildings and entering a new space). The beautiful cinematography that often blurs a part of one scene, and the endless passing through a door are the other two significant symbols of 'breaking and entering' activities.

However, apart from the arty way of presenting the story, I was disappointed by the story. I reckon the story would be more gripping if the architect starred by Jude Law made a more definite decision - broke up with his wife/girlfriend and start a new relationship with a low class immigrant starred by Juliette Binoche. But on the other hand, if such a decision were made, the whole film probably lost its meaning and beauty of blurring and confusing after breaking and entering.

Jude Law and Juliette Binoche performed outstandingly while Robin Wright Penn did not really catch the role - she badly interpreted this middle class white woman who was a stressful mum uncertain about her relationship. I thought Nicole Kidman's role in Eyes Wide Shut would fit well if migrated to this film.

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