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Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering isn't as profound or penetrating as it aspires to be, but it's an admirable, and sometimes moving, film.


Breaking and Entering is sometimes contrived, as films of this sort tend to be, but is executed smoothly enough by screenwriter/director Anthony Minghella to succeed on some levels. Will (Jude Law) is an architect whose office in the seedier King's Cross area of London is ransacked by thieves. He tracks one of them down and encounters Amira (Juliette Binoche), a Bosnian immigrant single mother with whom he becomes infatuated. Their illicit relationship ultimately has unforeseen consequences for all concerned, including Will's girlfriend (Robin Wright Penn) and Amira's son Miro (Rafi Gavron). There aren't many laughs, but the film does try to offer an insight into what drives – and impedes – its characters' emotional impulses


Law is good, Binoche is better than good and Wright Penn is better than usual. If there's one element that elevates Breaking and Entering to a higher level, it's the performances. Vera Farmiga, who played the only female role of any consequence in The Departed, delivers a scene-stealing turn as a resilient Bosnian streetwalker, while the always-welcome Ray Winstone turns up (all too briefly) as a canny cop.


Given the success of Paul Haggis' Crash and the films of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it's no surprise that other filmmakers are adopting the same attempting to cure (or at least address) various social issues by having disparate characters whose seemingly random interactions have consequences (both good and bad) for all concerned. Minghella, an Oscar winner for The English Patient, does have a knack for bringing out the best – or at least the good – in his actors, even those in smaller roles. At least, Breaking and Entering is more comfortably paced than Minghella's last film, the picturesque but lugubrious adaptation of Cold Mountain.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.