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|Index||92 reviews in total|
Once upon a time, love meant never having to say you're sorry. In
"Breaking and Entering," a fairy tale of a different order, love is
apparently about nothing but. Sadly, all of those apologies don't make
us feel any better. Maybe that's because, by the time the film ends,
we're not quite sure they're heartfelt.
In yet another collaboration with director Anthony Minghella ("Cold Mountain," "The Talented Mr. Ripley"), Jude Law plays Will, an architect who, with his partner Sandy (Martin Freeman), has just set up shop in King's Cross, a London neighborhood that is on the cusp of being gentrified but which still is known for its high crime rate. Think crack, prostitution and, yes, burglary.
Naturally, the high-tech architectural firm gets burglarized -- several times -- by a gang of immigrants who employ teenaged boys of superior athletic ability to initiate the break ins. One of these boys, Miro (Rafi Gavron), is as fascinated by what he finds at the firm as he is proud of his ability to earn a living in nefarious ways. This, of course, becomes a pivotal plot point that -- not to give anything away -- anyone paying attention will spot the moment it appears on screen.
In an attempt to do what the police (and apparently an effective security system) can't, Will and Sandy stake out their space at night, initially as a team and then just by Will, who forms an unusual relationship with Oana, a local prostitute (played to perfect humorous pitch by Vera Farmiga).
Will's distraction nearly causes him to miss another robbery in progress. But at the last possible moment he gives chase to Miro, who he follows to an apartment in a housing project. It is disingenuous of Minghella, who also wrote the screenplay, to ask his audience to buy why, at this point, Will doesn't just call the police.
Maybe it's because Will recognizes that, once again, he can practice the same rescuer skills he employed with the two people he lives with, Liv (Robin Wright Penn), his common law wife, and Bea (Poppy Rogers), her functionally autistic daughter. Maybe it's because, this time, he'll be able to get it right.
Whatever the reason, Will is compelled to satisfy his curiosity about Miro by visiting the apartment where the teenager lives with his seamstress mother, Bosnian immigrant Amira (Juliette Binoche). What transpires between these two is to be expected from a pairing of two such good looking actors/characters who cannot possibly not be attracted to each other.
That Will behaves totally irresponsibly throughout all that ensues is grist for the mill. That Minghella thinks he can make it all okay by having Will utter a series of "I'm sorry's" that are the equivalent of kissing a boo-boo better is to underestimate everyone involved.
It is to the credit of this fine cast that they all manage to turn in creditable performances, especially Wright Penn, who manages to do so much with so little. Of all the actors, though, the ones who turn in the most outstanding performances are Gavron, Rogers and, of course, Farmiga. This is a season of finely-honed supporting performances, and "B&E" offers some excellent examples.
To emphasize these performances, however, is to overlook one of the more important "characters" in "B&E". Minghella's films, including the critically acclaimed and commercially successful "The English Patient," prove that the writer/director is adept at integrating landscape-as-character into his films, and "B&E" is no different. Indeed, without King's Cross, and the artistry with which it was photographed by Benoit Delhomme, the film has very little reason for being. It is all the more unfortunate, therefore, that the script is not more specific about the class problems at which it barely hints.
Perhaps there is an apology adequate for such an oversight (not to mention the very unsatisfying ending), but "I'm sorry" just isn't it.
Will Francis (Jude Law) opens a new architecture office in the
transitioning London neighborhood Kings Cross. He and his girlfriend
Liv (Robin Wright Penn) are growing distant and her autistic daughter
Bea is one of the reasons. Meanwhile Amira (Juliette Binoche) is
worried about her son Miro (Rafi Gavron) slipping into criminal
activity. They're from Bosnia and his father was killed during the war.
Miro is teamed up with his cousin Zoran (Ed Westwick) in the family
crime business. They break into Will's office to steal computers. Miro
steals the valuable miniatures for his own artistic work and is given
Will's personal computer as a reward. They rob the place a second time
and Will's partner Sandy (Martin Freeman) almost runs into them.
Detective Bruno Fella (Ray Winstone) investigates. Will and Sandy
decide to stake out their own offices and encounter prostitute Oana
(Vera Farmiga) working in the area. One night, Will catches Miro and
follows him all the way home. Instead of directing the cops to the
thieve, he starts a relationship with his mother.
This is written and directed by Anthony Minghella. I have no specific problems with the directions. It is all about the writing. It is overloaded with class warfare melodrama. Everybody has their own dramas. There is just too much. That's not to say there is nothing worthwhile. Binoche is amazing in this. If this is a simple movie about her and her son, this could be an award worthy performance. Again there are so many characters who each have their own drama. Minghella could easily cut out Sandy and Oana. Quite frankly, I couldn't care less about Will and his family drama either. The complicated melodrama is simply too complicated.
This was almost a really good movie, following criminals, immigrants
and well-to-do professional types in London's King's Cross
Jude Law looks good and does a fine job as an architect staking out and tracking the thief who twice broke into his office. Along the way he hops into a bathtub and begins an affair with the 15 yr. old thief's mother (Juliette Binoche) -she's a Serbian refugee, trying to blackmail him into not pressing charges against her son. Robin Wright plays Law's live in girlfriend -she's meant to be Swedish but her accent is terrible and her character all over the place. I expected better from her as I'm usually a fan.
The story itself never really comes together, even at the end when all the characters intersect, it wasn't fulfilling. I did enjoy seeing Sherlock's (Martin Freeman) here and also liked the Serbian boys 'jumping' all over Kings Cross while they burgled people. Good acting from "the thief" and Binoche. 02.23.14
I have seen this movie 3 times in as many years and while it is by no
means a perfect movie it keeps drawing me back, so I guess that is some
I think the thing that keeps me revisiting this movie is that I can't really believe the horribleness of the character played by Juliet Binoche. I keep thinking I must have missed something that justifies her actions, or that she must have some sort of redeeming feature. But no, every time I watch it I am disappointed, she is still the same horrible person. Here is a woman who will blackmail a man who truly loves her. Oh, but what about a mother's unconditional love for her son you say? What a load of rubbish. Perhaps this whole movie is about the concept of unconditional love, or in particular, a mother's love, which if the two examples given in this movie are anything to go by is a love that defies all common sense and morality. It seems that any action, no matter how despicable, is OK as long as you do it for your children. Apparently it makes you a great mother.
As many have noted Jude Law does a fantastic job as Will, although the part given him does make him appear somewhat limp. Juliet Binoche is adequate in her role and while she can be beautiful she is portrayed in this role as a somewhat dowdy woman, of no great physical beauty and with an unattractive personality. Sure, she has had a rough life, we get that, but it is difficult to see why Will falls for her at all, let alone so completely and so quickly. Her "personality", such that it is, vacillates between cool to Will and ridiculously over the top cloying with her son - do mothers and sons really act like that between themselves? Robin Wright Penn plays Will's girlfriend, yet another woman playing the "unconditional love of a mother" card. She plays her part well enough but as others have noted hers is not a character that generates much sympathy from the audience. The movie seems to imply that Will and Liv have only just started having problems with their relationship but it is almost impossible to believe that given the circumstances they would surely have split up years ago. Martin Freeman, as usual plays the only part he knows, that of Martin Freeman, with all the speech patterns and mannerisms for which we know and love him. It's as if he strolled onto the set during a break from shooting "The Office". Ray Winstone plays Ray Winstone in an impossible to believe role of the copper with a heart of gold who has nothing better to do than spend his whole life concerned about a single 15 year old boy and hanging around on scooters waiting for this boy to appear. Where can I get a job like this? His inclusion in the film is entirely pointless. The lad that plays the young thief is OK, but his is a strange role. On the one hand he is the central character who creates the raisin d'etre for the entire movie but on the other, as a person, his character is not really important.
Now that I have written this I think that what keeps me coming back to this movie is the empathy I have with the character of Will. It is hard not to feel sorry for Will. He is not a perfect person but he seems to me to be far too nice a person for the people he is exposed to, and he is treated like dirt for his troubles. I suppose it is the injustice of the whole thing I find compelling and which draws me to it and through it.
To summarise...you should definitely watch this movie. In spite of all the criticisms I have raised it is thought provoking and strangely compelling, and the performance by Jude Law deserves to be seen.
The late Anthony Minghella wrote and directed "Breaking and Entering,"
a 2006 film starring Jude Law, Robin Wright Penn,and Juliette Binoche.
Since this film is about people and not adventure or war, I'll say up front that this film moved slowly. I found it an honest and moving film about complex people with complex emotional -- and very real -- lives.
Jude Law is Will, an architect who has a brand new office with his partner Sandy (Martin Freeman). The problem is that the office is in King's Cross, a bad neighborhood. On the day they open their office, they're robbed and then they're robbed again.
Will's home life is strained - he lives with his Swedish girlfriend, Liv, and her autistic daughter, Bea. Bea causes chaos in the household and also requires a lot of attention. Will feels somewhat neglected, and there's a lack of communication in the household. Therefore, to get out of the house, he takes it upon himself to watch the office building at night. He's joined by a Russian hooker (Vera Farmiga) who brings him coffee in exchange for staying warm in his car. She offers herself to him but Will rejects her. Will isn't looking for sex. He's looking for love.
One night he sees a boy trying to break in. Will follows him home and takes note of the fact that his mother Amira (Binoche) is a tailor. The next day he shows up with a jacket to be repaired. Ultimately he wants to be repaired, and they start an affair. It turns out she's Bosnian, and she and her son Miro (Rafi Gavron) left with the Red Cross during the war; her husband was killed when he stayed behind. Unbeknownst to her, Miro's uncle has Miro and a group of his friends, who are experts at parkour, a discipline akin to gymnastics, break into places and steal computers. He soon discovers that Liv isn't the only mother who has an abundance of motherly love.
This is a wonderful story of the lengths a mother will go for her child -- both Liv and Amira, and the desire of two people to find their love again - Liv and Will. Liv and Bea, Will thinks, are in a "circle" that he's not in. He believes he has found true love with Amira, but there's another circle, and he can't be part of that either.
The acting throughout is marvelous from everyone involved. Jude Law is fantastic as a man who feels alone; Juliette Binoche gives a beautiful performance of a troubled and sensual woman, for whom trust is difficult; and Robin Wright Penn gives a strong performance as Liv, a Swede prone to depression and having communication problems with her husband.
A wonderful character study, a moving story, beautifully done.
more than a film, it is picture of a state of soul. a modern poem about borders of solitude, tolerance and expectation. a film about ordinaries things in a realistic atmosphere. so, not the story or the end are important but the performance of each actor as drawing, precise drawing, on the white paper. a delicate manner to present roots of truth. a precise way to tell a gray story. and the interesting construct of details for characters and situations. sure, Juliette Binoche and Jude Law are precious instruments for every director and wise choice for each script-writer. but not only the performance is seductive. more relevant, the smoke after its end. like scent of forgotten piece of sandalwood.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had read negative reviews of this film and only saw it today for the first time. This is truly an amazing stunning brilliantly acted movie about complex human beings. Let's start with the performances: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn and Ravi Gavron are all working at the top of their immense talents as actors. This is a film about ethics but it is not pat and simple. It's the way people actually are: complex. When Anthony Minghella is at his best - as he is here - we all should miss his talents (he died when he was 54). I loved these characters, and yes, they are all flawed human beings, reacting HUMANLY to their set of circumstances. This is so worth seeking out, on DVD or if it shows up on cable. I haven't said much about the plot because I prefer for viewers to be surprised. I forgot how much I have loved Jude Law since it's been awhile since he was in the public eye, having been in some box-office bombs. (I expect him to get an Oscar nomination for Anna Karenina in a few months time though). This is a perfect movie, and yes, I know that many viewers puzzlingly dislike it and the critics were less than kind (but this has more to do with their own lack of ethics, I suspect; this film may hit too close to home?).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this film for Jude Law, Juliette Binoche and Penn, without
knowing it was a Anthony Minghella film. Afterwards I thought how
typical this was of a Minghella film - beautiful cinematography -
especially some mirror and reflection shots and the filtering of
colours, and some shots equal that of Hitchcock - two things, two
situations happening at once. It had beautiful music - by the same
composer who composed for The English Patient and Cold Mountain,
Gabriel Yared. Yet it is an unrealistic story.
I loved the film knowing that the story was implausible. I mean, think about it, which man would fall in love with his office cleaner? What man wouldn't prosecute someone who stole his whole company's computers and his personal one, not once, but twice? And what women would take a man back who have cheated on him? Yes, he loved her, and yes, he felt shut out of his own girlfriend's world but he still cheated, I doubt their relationship can last much longer. But, you feel sympathy for each of the characters. Each are flawed, each have difficulties to deal with, whether family, history, or immigration, or loneliness, or poverty. You know that it's a film and their behaviours are not what you expect in real life, but that is what I love about it. It is unpredictable, not like ordinary Hollywood films - which I don't usually like. I thought not only the acting was really moving and invoked much sympathy, but it had shown areas of London, that I, a Londoner, had not seen before. Also, despite much sadness this film also gave lots of laughter, which was great. I thought Jude Law and Juliette Binoche were exceptionally good in this, and Bea and the policeman. Penn and the son were less moving or less powerful characters.
I actually love the metaphors and the fox, the prostitute, as well as the jumping and running over walls, and the changing of London, reconstruction - linked with the reconstruction of Bosnia, and the references to the war. I personally think that the Bosnian/Yugoslavian war is generally unknown to the world, it happened during the same time of the end of Apartheid but yet people do not know the suffering behind it, nor the stories behind it. I hope this film can have an educating impact on the audience, who may wish to research about the war afterwards.
If you like this film, you should also consider watching In My Country - with Juliette Binoche, and she plays a journalist whom report about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I thought it was such a moving and shattering film and Binoche was simply brilliant! She then has a Afrikaans accent!
I've always enjoyed this modest, penultimate work from Isle of White
director, Anthony Minghella. He made The No.1 Ladie's Detective Agency
two years after but tragically died from a hemorrhage after routine
surgery, in a London Hospital, in 2008. He was just 54.
So, it is with great respect that we see here his last work made in his native Britain. It actually runs more akin to a French drama, where honest and thorough characterisation helps us get to know the people, acted without ceremony or pretension.
The film's structure is beautifully laid out, it's quite complex, yet we are never left confused but are gently guided into place by each unfolding drama. Jude Law is beautifully natural, a human being who could be living in the next street, working in our local town centre. His family and life are very believable, with anxieties about their daughter putting a strain on both him and his Swedish partner (Robin Wright Penn).
It is however, the shadier side to life that both provides the substance and the downfalls all round. After break-ins at his posh architecture's office, a whole series of dramas unfold, that involve others. Some are obvious and direct, others are subtle and take their time. The film always allows both us and the characters room to breathe, which is how real life actually is.
Juliette Binoche, a favourite French brunette actress of mine is also superb, her nuanced and finely balanced performance expresses all the anxiety and paranoia of a Bosnian refugee, with a son, who is trying to make good in difficult circumstances. When Will Francis (Law) starts a relationship with her, after he has clothes altered by her, all the pieces of the puzzle are laid bare.
This is my third time watching this film. It doesn't have the broad cinematic sweep of Minghella's Oscar winning 'An English Patient', nor has it robberies and car chases by hoodlums that its title might suggest. This is an intelligent, honest movie from a man who obviously loved London and who now is sadly missed. RIP.
The dangers of indulging in a little dramatic movie like this every now
and again is that too often, you get burnt. But before you start, let
me state that this film does have several reasons that make it stand
out from the crowd. Director Anthony Minghella knows how to shoot a
film, thesps like Jude Law and Juilette Binoche have both experience
and reputations to draw on and people like me still get a rush of blood
thinking about Underworld's work for the soundtrack to "Trainspotting".
It would be a rare day indeed if this sort of pedigree were wasted in
some sort of plodding, unrealistic time-waster but alas, today is that
day. Despite me ignoring my first impressions and sticking with it,
this is one of those films where characters mumble lines of dialogue
you'd never hear in real life and very little plot development makes
any sort of sense.
Throwing himself into his work redeveloping the area around Kings Cross, architect Will (Law) struggles to cope at home with his half-Swedish girlfriend Liv (Robin Wright-Penn) and her semi-autistic gymnast daughter Beatrice (Poppy Rogers). After a break-in at his office, Will eventually finds the culprit - a fifteen year-old teenager from Sarejevo called Miro (Rafi Gavron) - and follows him home where he becomes enchanted by Milo's mother Amira (Binoche). As Will and Amira start seeing each other, Will begins to question his life while Amira slowly discovers what her son has been doing behind her back...
Like I said, there are things to recommend about "Breaking And Entering" and for me, the acting is the first noticeable plus. Binoche, Law and Wright-Penn are excellent as are most of the supporting cast, especially Rogers and Martin Freeman as Will's partner Sandy. The only fly in the ointment is Ray Winstone's horribly stereotyped cop investigating the break-in, who always feels like he's two seconds away from rolling over his car's bonnet and driving at high speed through some cardboard boxes. Other positives are Minghella's direction which gives the film a suitably urban feel to match the seediness of Kings Cross perfectly and the soundtrack by Underworld is just brilliant, without being intrusive. The ingredients were there but the film's leisurely pace and frankly odd story undermines all that hard work. Take the fact that Will & Sandy, instead of hiring security to look after their office, decide to spend the night in their car staking the place out but end up being bothered by prostitutes. The dialogue is also pretty poor - Law's character, who seems to spend an abnormally large amount of time staring into the middle-distance, delivers lines of such cryptic complexity that I had no idea what he was on about half the time.
In some ways, it reminded me of Binoche's English-speaking debut "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being" which is beautifully acted and directed but spend the entire duration going absolutely nowhere and ultimately ended up being a very pretty but dull film. "Breaking And Entering" suffers from similar problems, being far too pretentious and not nearly believable enough for me to care. In fact, Will's generally unlikeable nature put me off just as much and other than his good looks and the need to protect her son, I couldn't see what attracted Amira to him in the first place. I'm a great admirer of Binoche (in every respect) but this film doesn't really do much for her CV. "Breaking And Entering" might offer something for viewers used to dramas such as this but personally, I just wanted something to happen or quite honestly, for the film to abandon Will and follow Winstone's heavily-clichéd copper for a few hours while he cracked some heads down in the East End. Instead, the film stuck with a bunch of boring people doing not very much while I wondered how so many talented people could simultaneously have an off-day.
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