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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In Anthony Minghella's "Breaking and Entering", multiple crimes are
committed against numerous people, but not all of them are prosecutable
in a court of law. Those subtle crimes are the heart and soul of this
often beautiful film, examining the way that the choices we make and
their consequences can have disastrous results we can never anticipate.
The film revolves around Will, an architect, played by Jude Law, who has just opened up a new base of operations for his planned reconstruction of the East End of London. He lives with his Swedish girlfriend (Robin Wright Penn) and her daughter, a nice setup to be sure, but we can tell that he is unhappy. Soon, burglaries begin to plague his business, and during a stakeout with his partner, played solidly by Martin Freeman, he catches the burglar in the act and chases him home.
Will goes to the young burglar's home the next day and meets his mother, played by Juliette Binoche. They soon start an affair that will have grave consequences for both when she discovers that her son has been stealing from Will. Deceit, blackmail, and thievery abound, and Will's life threatens to unravel.
And it should unravel. The main problem with the film is the script's refusal to let the characters truly reap what they have sown, and so the end of the movie is marked by a series of fortunate events that are a bit unrealistic, thus weakening the story. However, the film up to that point is excellently crafted, acted, and written. Overall, it is a moving piece by a skilled director, and can be enjoyed despite the dubious finale.