High Amazon ratings but never could get there for us.
Nina E. Reviewed on 9/10/2014...
This DVD is better than expected. Great story line great actors...intrigue, romance and filmed in a great location. Martin Freeman pre Watson/Hobbit...great acting beside Jude Law!!!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Gerald R. from RACINE, WI Reviewed on 2/6/2013...
Wonderful story lines: coping with the difficulties life sometimes throws at us, trying to make the best of it, different characters response to love or the lack of it. Trying to improve our world, with a view of London's King Cross as seen by different characters. This movie is more human than most, without being just an essay on pain.
Good acting, good production values. Love is expressed in multiple ways.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
Not my favorite of all of Minghella's films, but still great. The story seemed a but muddled at times, but it seems sincere. This was a solid small movie.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
OUTSTANDING!!! (beware spoilers)
Surjorimba Suroto | Jakarta, Indonesia | 12/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just watched this movie last week during Jakarta Int'l Film Festival (JIFFEST) 2006. I wasn't sure at first, as I chose this movie only because Jude Law and Juliette Binoche were in it.
Jude Law and Robin Wright-Penn played as a non-married couple, living with Penn's teenage-autis daughter in UK (I think it was London). If I recalled correctly, Law & Penn been a couple for around 10 years. Law worked as an architect, while Penn stayed as a housemother, taking care of her daughter.
Problem came when some burglars broke into Law's office and stole many computers. Among them was a laptop with so many Law's personal files. One of the burglar was a young boy with some remarkable acrobatic abilities. First he took a peek from the rooftop to see door security passwords, broke the very high window-ceiling, enter the warehouse very fast with his acrobatic skills, turned off the alarm, entered the password, the door opened, and his gang entered. And this burglary happened twice! From Law's laptop, the boy explored the excitement of being an architect.
After the second burglary, Law waited outside to catch the burglar, in case the burglar will try the third time. He succedded and followed the boy to his house. There Law saw his lovely mother, Juliette Binoche, a Bosnian-native who ran away from her homeland and left her Serbian husband. It was Law's intention to know if this family was actually an honest family, based on his opinion that Binoche looked as a nice and honest person.
The story goes on. Law maintained his loving relationship with Penn and her troubled daughter. The police were tracking down the burglars and found some clues. Law and Binoche were getting closer to an affair.
Problem came when the police discovered the boy's responsible for the burglary. What would Law do? Should he testify against the boy, losing Binoche who probably his soulmate, and jeopardize his long-time and loving relationship with Penn?
The movie runs for 2 hours. In the first hour, I couldn't predict where the movie was going. But when Bincohe showed up, everything beginning to shine. Law, Wright-Penn & Binoche acting were very good. I love them all. If you're familiar with Binoche's movies, then you know she has that magic. Oh yes, I forgot, she did some nude scenes in Breaking and Entering."
4 1/2 - Minghella's Portrait of a Couple at the "Breaking" P
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 12/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Imagine if all you ever ate was a steady diet of McDonalds or Burger King and all of a sudden, you had a meal at a really nice restaurant like `Panache' in Newport, Oregon? Your system would probably go into shock.
"Breaking and Entering", the new film from director Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient") - well, that just cost the film a number of tickets - is a strange and unusual film. I liked the film, but I'm not sure if I enjoyed the film, because the journey is authentic, painful and believable.
Will (Jude Law) and Sandy (Martin Freeman, the British version of "The Office") are two architects working on a major urban renewal project in the King's Cross section of London. The area, best known as a place to get prostitutes and/ or drugs, is unsafe and ready for such a project. Will and Sandy move their offices into a nearby vacant warehouse. As Will and Liv (Robin Wright Penn), his girlfriend of ten years, deal with her behaviorally challenged thirteen year old daughter, Will has to deal with constant burglaries at his new office. One night, he spots Miro (Rafi Gavron) trying to break into the building. He chases Miro to his run down apartment block and watches as he returns home to his mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche), a Bosnian immigrant who makes a living tailoring clothes. Soon, Will `meets' Amira and they begin an affair. And Amira learns Will holds the key to her son's future. How far will this mother go to protect her son?
"Breaking and Entering" is a very interesting film, but it is almost entirely character driven. This is not a bad thing, but when you consider most of the films we are exposed to be story or action driven, it is a bit of a shock to the system. It takes some adjustment to get used to the mechanics of the film and settle in for the story.
Another problem is the film's trailer paints the story as a thriller, like a game of cat and mouse occurs during the affair, like Binoche is prepared to dump some boiled rabbits into Penn's cooking pots. It is nothing like this and a bit misleading to sell the film in this way. But let's move beyond that misguided effort.
That said, Minghella creates some of the most believable, interesting characters these actors have ever played. It is almost painful to watch them on their journey. Each of the characters makes decisions affecting how their lives will play out, or change and these decisions and actions affect the story. The characters aren't reacting to the story. They are changing it.
Jude Law's Will is a complex character and the actor's best role in a while. Will is absorbed in his work and has been in a relationship for ten years. He seems to be bitter that he and Liv (Penn) have never married and their relationship isn't easy; her 13 year old daughter doesn't sleep or eat properly and seems more than a little autistic, but they have been together for so long, they are a family. She is willing to put up with the long work hours because she recognizes he genuinely loves her.
As he deals with the struggles of his home life, and the lack of affection, he also deals with a large project at work, a new office and more. There is a lot of pressure on Will and he feels he can't turn to Liv, because she has problems of her own.
Then the robberies start at their new office. Sick at losing his personal laptop, with personal photos and documentaries made by Liv, he decides to put a stop to it and stakes out the building at night, determined they will not be robbed a third time.
It would be very easy to make Will one dimensional, but Minghella takes the character to a different place. Because he has so many demands on his life, he recognizes that Miro could get in a lot of trouble. He is also intrigued by Amira and doesn't turn the boy in. One thing leads to another and they begin an affair. These moments, played in concert with examples of his work and his home life, help create a portrait of an upper middle class man living in a major city.
As the story progresses, and Will makes certain choices, his character controls the destiny of his story and affect the rest of the people in his life. The final moments of the film seem very real and natural. Will makes a decision that seems a good fit for his life and his views.
Law portrays the character well. On the one hand, he is distraught and annoyed with his life. On the other, as much as he is fed up with his life, he has a long history with them and truly loves Liv and her daughter, who frequently calls him Dad. This relationship is interesting, painful and hard to watch. One moment, they are fighting about work hours, or dealing with trust issues or some of the girl's problems, the next they are in love. The portrayal is all the more interesting because it seems so real and why it is slightly difficult to watch. Because his character has so much going on, so many internal problems, he seems real and lifelike. It almost feels like we are eavesdropping on his life.
Juliette Binoche is also very good as Amira, mother of Miro. As an immigrant to England, she recognizes the country has a lot to offer her son, but she also recognizes the bad influences in his life and watches sadly as these influences seem to take hold. As she struggles with trying to help him take advantage of his new circumstances, and make a life for their family, she also has to deal with her background, her religion and much more.
Binoche does a great job of making Amira believable, there are so many facets to her character she is intensely interesting. She works at a Muslim community center and attends meetings there, but she is also from Bosnia, as you are probably aware, the two don't work well together. Her husband's brother also lives in London, and is the primary bad influence on Miro, but as he is a Bosnian, he has a hatred for Muslims and can't stand his sister-in-law. She knows this and because of his bad influence, doesn't want him or his son around the house.
It is also interesting to watch Amira do things to try to control the situation. She enters the relationship with Will, because she knows she can control him, to a certain extent, by sleeping with him. Yet, as they have this relationship, we get the sense she is also getting at least some pleasure from the coupling. Can she control her feelings enough to protect her son and her life? Later, she makes a half hearted attempt to black mail Will and this reveals the true extent of her desperation.
Robin Wright Penn plays Liv, Will's Swedish long-term girlfriend. A supporting character, she has at least as many character traits as Will and Amira. She has a behaviorally challenged daughter, she has been in a long term relationship with Will, fears she may no longer love him, etc. It is a testament to Penn's and Minghella's skill that the character has so many different facets, yet seems so natural and lifelike. The role could easily have become as showy as a stage actress working to be heard in the balcony.
Martin Freeman also has some good moments as Sandy, Will's business partner. During all of the problems with the break-ins, he shyly reveals he is attracted to one of the cleaners who clean the office, a black woman whose photograph has become a screensaver on Sandy's computer. When suspicion about the robberies shifts in that direction, Sandy is both hurt by suspicion and defends them, trying to walk a fine line. Later, the depth of the working and personal relationship between the two men is revealed.
Ray Winstone plays the lead detective investigating the case. He quickly has his suspicions about who the culprit is and finds Miro playing soccer in a park. He beckons the kid, who grudgingly hops on the back of his scooter and drives to a nearby park where they talk. As they talk, you get the sense Winstone's character probably had a similar childhood. He wants to help the kid change his ways. Improve his life.
Vera Farmiga ("The Departed", "Running Scared") plays a prostitute with a heavy accent who frequents the area around their new office. She and Will start a casual conversation and she begins to keep him company as he stakes out his office, using his car to keep her warm for a few hours, bringing him coffee, between tricks. Her character is, by far, the least successful in the film. She almost seems designed to provide comic relief and every time she appears on screen it draws you completely out of the universe Minghella has tried so hard to create. Late in the story, she does something which seems completely out of character.
Minghella has created a film with such emotional performances, it is almost difficult to watch. I go to a lot of films and even I was not prepared, it is so different from the majority of the films I go to see and will surely turn many people off. I think this is why many people either love or loathe "The English Patient"; the two films are very similar and present characters in realistic, natural ways. His characters drive the stories, not the other way around.
When you are so used to the other type of film - story or event driven narratives - it is a bit of a shock to the system to actually experience a difference. It is a bit like how your body would react to eating at a fine restaurant after a steady diet of McDonalds. "
Better Than You've Probably Heard.
Joshua Miller | Coeur d'Alene,ID | 05/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anthony Minghella has spent the last 10 years of his career making films based on books. And he's showed a knack for it. First, "The English Patient" won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Then "The Talented Mr. Ripley" became one of the best films of that year and picked up some Oscar nominations. Finally, "Cold Mountain" was nominated for more Golden Globes than any other film and got Renee Zellweger an Oscar. "Breaking and Entering" is the first film I've seen by Minghella based on an original screenplay and it's weaker than his previous films. It's no wonder though, because it's completely different material. "The English Patient" was a big epic that brought to mind films like "Lawrence of Arabia," while "Cold Mountain" was a war film/melodrama with big, expensive-looking scenes. In scope, this film most resembles "The Talented Mr. Ripley" but even that's a stretch. I would never guess this was a Minghella film from watching it. It takes place in modern day London, is very low on plot, and is very low-key. I loved it though. Jude Law plays Will, an architect who lives with his girlfriend of ten years Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and her autistic daughter Bea. Will has recently moved his office to the ghetto of London and on the very first day, it's broken into by very talented teenaged thieves. One of them is Miro (Rafi Gayron); the Bosnian son of a tailor named Amira (Juliette Binoche) who has no idea what her son is doing. After the first break-in, Will is confident that it won't happen again. Alas, Miro and his gang come back and Will decides to neglect his family even more by spying on his office. Finally, he manages to follow Miro home and becomes a client of Amira's in order to find out more about her son. Pretty soon, their relationship blossoms into a love affair. This could all be soap opera, but Minghella's smart script causes it to rise above the average melodrama. The title is a metaphor, which even the dumbest moviegoer will notice because Law's character is obsessed with metaphors and frequently talks about them. Despite strong performances by it's leads, including smaller roles from Ray Winstone and Martin Freeman (from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"); It's Vera Farmiga ('The Departed') that really steals the show. She plays a prostitute named Oana, who materializes at Will's car as he spies on his building and begins spying along with him until she suddenly disappears. She's in the film so briefly and her character disappears (along with something belonging to Will) for so long that it's amazing we remember her at all. Especially since, at first, her character seems unnecessary. It's later that we realize she just hammers Minghella's metaphor into the ground a little further. "Breaking and Entering" is an unexpectedly satisfying drama that should've received more attention than it did. A film that can truly be called "underrated."
"You Give Liberals A Bad Name"
Ron | Berkeley, CA USA | 05/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think the reason a lot critics dismissed this brilliant film was because it gave liberals a bad name. If it was the other way around then they probably would've liked it a lot more. To me, Will (Jude Law) was the main character. He is what you would call a liberal (although not all liberals are as dysfunctional as he is). He has idealistic notions but is incapable of acting them out. He is a coward or weakling. That is precisely why he has been a ten-year relationship with a woman. It isn't because that's his choice--it's because he doesn't have the guts to ask her to marry him or break up with him. Likewise, he doesn't have the guts to report a burgular to the cops. Even when a mother begs him to help her keep her son out of prison--what does he tell her: "I can't get involved because then everything will come out." I think the reason he is a coward is because he wants everyone to like him and is afraid to create waves. As a result, he feels guilty about it all, which makes him want people to like him even more. I felt this film did a terrific job analyzing the insecurities of humanity."
Beautiful, Subtly-Shaded Drama of an Affair...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 10/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director/writer Anthony Minghella's exploration of three lives intertwined by pain, guilt, and loneliness, "Breaking and Entering", benefits by the earnest portrayals of Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, and Robin Wright Penn, a script that never attempts to 'glamorize' the central affair, and Minghella's willingness to allow the story to take it's time to unfold (almost 40 minutes pass before Law and Binoche even meet one another). While the film was unsuccessful in theaters, it is a multi-layered, rewarding experience that deserves a place in your video library!
While the catalyst of the story is a pair of break-ins of Law's offices by Binoche's son (Rafi Gavron), the action serves more as an introduction to the lives of the leads; Binoche is a Bosnian refugee, struggling to provide a stable home for her son, and to save enough money to return the pair to their homeland; Law and Penn are a couple worn down by caring for Penn's autistic daughter (Poppy Rogers), and a growing lack of communication and common interests. When Law tracks the boy to Binoche, he finds himself drawn to the beautiful, reserved widow, but even as he succumbs to his desires, she fiercely protects herself and her son, by taking incriminating nude photos of herself with Law, as he sleeps. There is a jaded understanding of the nature of her existence that is both sad, and understandable; as another Bosnian refugee (Vera Farmiga), reduced to prostitution, explains to Law, survival is the issue, here, not gratification. Indeed, there are no 'villains' in the story, only people struggling to maintain their identities, and dignity.
With wonderful support by Ray Winstone, as a compassionate cop, and Martin Freeman, as Law's bemused partner, and a climax both bittersweet and satisfying, "Breaking and Entering" is a film that actually demands repeated viewings, to appreciate the symbolism of central London's urban decay, and a wild fox in the midst of the construction of an artificial park-like environment.