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Good actors, good people and production and an idea for a film that
could have resulted in something great, which for me, it didn't.
Being Swedish it's even more "fun" since the references is there in many ways besides the obvious ones. Cold, suicidal and strange swedes, yeah, a lot of the stuff that's being produced in terms of movies and TV-shows really go for that. Some can be very convincing in it's minimalistic way and overall gray feel. This movie felt very "over-done" and over-acted. Not very convincing at all. Again, being Swedish, I sometimes get very frustrated with the more theater feeling that often overshadows a typical Swedish film or TV-show. And this movie feels like it's on purpose tries to achieve just that. That theater acting instead of trying to be a convincing story with real people. Instead we end up with scenes and dialog that again and again seems constructed.
For me, sorry to say, there's more life in either Housebunny or Rambo.
Superb performances by entire ensemble make this a very engaging story with many of the smaller roles taking on an appealing depth of their own. For example, the "autistic" daughter and the street-wise cop develop in wonderfully unexpected ways; best of all is Vera Farmiga's crazy hooker who has presence even when she isn't on screen. Law, Binoche and Penn are terrific and wonderfully human in their strengths and failings. Remarkable juxtapositions of humor and intensity of emotions. The film could easily be longer to give more time for character development. Some aspects are merely suggested or hinted at in passing, but that's part of the charm as well. Surprising and a shame it didn't do better at the box office.
Minghella's final theatrical film, and one of only two original screenplays that he himself wrote (the other being his debut, Truly, Madly, Deeply, which is presently unavailable on DVD). I've seen several variations on the theme in Breaking and Entering in recent years, where affluent white people come into contact with downtrodden immigrants. I have heard them referred to as "globalization movies", and I kind of like that term. Another one that comes immediately to mind is Michael Haneke's Code Unknown. Breaking and Entering is not at that level, but it's a very good film. Jude Law plays an architect who is growing apart from his girlfriend of 10 years (Robin Wright Penn) and her autistic daughter (Poppy Rogers, a fantastic juvenile actress). When his office is burgled, Law follows the teenage perpetrator (Rafi Gavron) to his mother's apartment. Played by Juliette Binoche, the mother is a Bosnian refugee working as a tailor in London. Law becomes intrigued, and eventually they start an affair. From here, everything starts to get real messy. As it would in real life, of course. Which is why the film ends so disappointingly: Minghella wraps everything up too cleanly. He also has Law act unbelievably. There's an inquest near the end, and what he admits during the hearing not only didn't have to be admitted, but it seems, to me at least, that admitting it would have the opposite effect that he intends. So, yeah, it ends weakly, to say the least. But I can't knock it too much. Law and Binoche are extraordinary. Binoche could probably do something like this in her sleep. I remember when Law was an exciting new actor, but there was that year that I think we all got sick of him when he appeared in like 20 movies. A performance like this helps remind me of why we touted his talents in the first place. I also really liked Vera Farmiga in a small role of a Russian hooker. She's a good character actor. She should probably be cast in these kind of roles in the future instead of lead roles.
Mingella is a fantastic director. Every shot, every scene in this film
is beautifully crafted. The keys in every department shine: the
editing, the score, the cinematography, the art direction all work
together to tell the story. And the story is pretty damn powerful. A
story about people looking for love, looking for hope, looking for the
future - all the while not knowing that it is right in front of them.
Often a tragedy, sometimes a romance, this movie is riveting. It helps
that Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, two of the great current actors use
all of their talents to fully paint out these complex characters.
Bravo, bravo, bravo!
I got this film for the wife. Jude Law and all. But it turned out to be
a very nice movie. It's best attribute is that almost all the
characters involved are good people. They meet in various circumstances
and their interaction is what makes the story.
But it's so much better than, let's say, Crash, since it doesn't try to shock, it just shows a beautiful story.
First of all, it's not a romantic movie. It has romance, but it is a real, personal type of a romance, not the boy-meets-girl crap. It's not an action movie, although one of the characters is a free runner. It's not a drama, since the suffering and happy moments are in balance.
OK, I am not good describing this movie. I liked it. And I usually don't like movies like this. It's nice and worth watching.
Comments on Minghella's Breaking and Entering The reason Hollywood will
always ultimately triumph over European film is simple: it understands
our need to aspire, to dream and to see human life reflected on a
larger, more fantastical scale than humdrum reality. Europe on the
other hand puts its trust in what it sees as real life. That can be
great of course, even if, more often than not, what European movies are
actually portraying is a contemporary brand of nihilism which passes
But European and British films are certainly not averse to the odd fantasy. It's just that we tend to dress them up in the guise of gritty, searing dramas with something to say about the state-of-the-nation. One such is Breaking and Entering, director Anthony Minghella's just-released tale about an affluent North London architect (Jude Law) whose security and Sunday supplement life with his cool Swedish wife (Robin Wright Penn) are threatened when he begins an affair with a Bosnian refugee (Juliet Binoche), who's eking out a living as a seamstress with her delinquent son in sleazy Kings Cross.
The multicultural setting is reminiscent of last year's Oscar-winner Crash. It all looks very good, in the way that Crash looked good. It's beautifully shot (but then so are most films these days), and the characters are aesthetically pleasing, even if Law's vanity, which seems to be increasingly hindering his performances lately, proves to be a real encumbrance here. It's sort of pleasurable to watch these people glide from scene to scene. But behind the posturing and interior-designed settings, there is actually nothing there at all.
The rest of the review is there - http://newcultureforum.blogspot.com/search/label/Movie
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Will (Jude Law) is an architect, married to a Swede, Liv (Robin
Wright-Penn), who has a daughter,Bea from a previous marriage. Bea has
some sort of mental disorder, and Liv seems depressed about it. Will is
a loving family man but feels that there is still something missing
from his home life. At work, he tries to construct a new building, at
an undesirable area of London, called King's Cross. His building is
burglarized by some young acrobatic teenagers so Will ends up staking
out his construction site hoping to catch the perpetrators. While he
does this from inside his car, a prostitute approaches him and Will
becomes a client of hers.
Like any other couples, Will and Liv have their fights and make up, so Will agreeing to a hooker, and yet trying to spice up his marriage, did not connect with this viewer. Even more surprising is he begins an affair with the mother of the teenage burglar. Amira (played by Juliette Binoche, doing a very good Bosnian accent), is a Muslim immigrant and seamstress who meets Will by chance at his step-daughter's gym practice. Will asks Amira for some tailoring to be done for him then begins an affair with her. When Amira's son Mero (Rafi Gavron) finds out Will has been to his place, he confesses to Amira what he has done. Amira and a friend then take pictures of her in bed with Will in hopes she can discredit Will from harming her son. Amira's loving protection of her son is the most plausible element of this movie.
This is really a story about Will trying to find a broken link in his marriage to Liv and her daughter. Will and Liv, like their daughter, is upset then calm, then upset, then calm. Their relationships lacked any consistency so that Will having affairs is incomprehensible. Maybe Will's character could have been more fully developed, as well as Wright-Penn's Liv, so we can get a clue as to why Will does what he does. While, watching Will start these affairs, I was reminded by what some girlfriends have told me, "men are scum". Yet Will is really a decent guy. I enjoyed the pacing of this movie, and the cat and mouse game at King's Cross (really that's what makes most of this movie interesting) and I liked watching the young acrobats jump from building to building (better than Spider-Man, they're human). But what it lacks is thorough credibility. It's an engaging movie that could have used a little more livening up.
London is a very compartmentalised place and people get on by ignoring
each other. However inner London in particular is also very crowded and
gentrification has meant that the poor now rub shoulders with the rich.
Will (Jude Law) and his partner (Martin Freeman Tim from "The
Office") are architects who has done very well out of redevelopment
which Will sees as a campaign against green spaces their current
plans for the King's Cross area envisage lots of canals. They have even
moved their own office to the area, but someone keeps on breaking in
and stealing the computers (always Apple a bit of product placement
Will, who wants to get out of his elegant Primrose Hill house anyway, stakes the place out and discovers that the burglar is a very athletic teenager. He follows the kid home to a housing estate in nearby St John's Wood and strikes up an acquaintance with the kid's seamstress mother. Mother Amira (Juliet Binochet) and son Miro(Rafi Gavron) are Bosnian refugees. Will is not terribly happy at home due to his strained relationship with his partner Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and her demanding daughter who is showing symptoms of autism. So he goes to bed with Amira, who sensibly arranges them to be photographed, though she doesn't know Will is on her son's case.
Without giving the game away, things are resolved, though it must be said not in a totally satisfying manner. There is also a rather pointless sub-plot involving a prostitute (nicely played by Vera Farmiga) who has coffee with Will and introduces him to Central European rock in the front seat of his Landrover while he is watching for burglars.
Clearly the film is about Will and Liv and their emotional life, and there is a wider theme about the rich mixing with the poor, but I'd have to say at the end I'm not much the wiser. However, I thought Jude Law turned in a terrific performance as Will, who's not sure if he knows what the truth is anymore. I saw Jude in "The Holiday" recently where he was basically sleepwalking (which was all his role demanded). Here he is really trying. Juliette Binoche, is also excellent as Amira, who makes it clear that, emotionally deprived as she is, motherhood is her first priority. Actually, Liv is the same, but poor Will doesn't notice.
Rafi Gavron makes a very impressive debut as Miro, who just may stay on the rails, and I liked Ray Winstone as an exemplary policeman dedicated to keeping kids out of trouble or at least out of jail. Oh, and Ellen Thomas, Liz the mendacious school secretary in "Teachers", pops up as a children's court judge chairing a bizarre community justice conferencing session.
Overall, an interesting film, but I'm still wondering what it was really about. It bombed at the box office here despite the presence of Jude Law, so perhaps I'm not the only one.
I think the plot ties up too neatly, I think the characters get away too lightly but I like the movie because their decisions seem foolish yet real. That's quite a balancing act. I find myself in their place, "Yep, I did that." And feeling pretty foolish since it's up there on screen. Oh it's funny. It's fictional. There's a sort of happy ending, but there's a weird flavor that isn't Hollywood (thank God), isn't neat, seems quite authentic, and exciting. I also want to praise the two women here (Vera Farmiga is yummy, without a doubt), Robin Wright and Juliette Binoche for daring to look so un-glamorous. They are undoubtedly very beautiful but they certainly look their age. I never saw women who look so human rather than the mannequin perfection of most films. They are truly, truly sexier for it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Minghella has a knack for making films that are flavor-of-the-month when they are released yet date very quickly (could anyone actually watch The English Patient today with a straight face?) and this is perhaps an exception inasmuch critics seem to be getting wise and have been reluctant to hype it out of all proportion. Not that it's downright Bad, far from it; it's got Juliette Binoche in it hasn't it and she doesn't do mediocre but somehow it doesn't quite come off. It's destined to be compared to and contrasted with Mike Leigh's High Hopes which also offered a Them and Us scenario set in King's Cross and honors are about even. Robin Wright Penn began her Screen life as Buttercup, The Princess Bride and here Minghella almost casts her as the Wicked Witch in this latter-day fairy story, whose growing emotional distance from live-in lover Jude Law sends him 'looking for love' as he puts it so imaginatively. The film is replete with metaphor (verbally as well as pictorially, Law spends half the movie talking about 'metaphor'), symbolism and 'meaning' so much so that simplicity and 'story-telling' go out the window. It's definitely watchable but then so is Spiderman.
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