Sunday, June 17, 2007

Breaking and Entering: Grade B

Breaking and Entering (2006)

Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone. Director Anthony Minghella.

Where were the editors on this one? It is a very slow moving 2-hour tale of a London architect (Law) in a strained relationship with his wife (Penn) and her hyperactive daughter. Why is the relationship strained? The story unconvincingly pins it on her chronic depression but it is clear that Law’s character is an insensitive, workaholic, psychopathic jerk. There are several misogynous themes like that. Penn excels at emotionally scrambled characters and she is in her element here with a fine performance. Law is the best I’ve ever seen him, but that’s not up to the level of Penn, Binoche, and Farmiga. He barks his lines, perhaps hoping fine diction will compensate for stiff acting. While watching his office at night for another attempted break-in, Law encounters Farmiga as a brazen and witty hooker. They strike up a friendship of sorts. It is a small part but Farmiga plays it to the hilt in an enjoyable and memorable performance. Binoche is a Serbian refugee whose son did the break-ins at Law’s firm. Law tracks the kid but when he meets the mother, he inexplicably falls in love with her and neglects to call the police. Binoche gives a subtle and rich performance, with a perfect accent. It is a pleasure to watch such excellent acting, but the endless scenes of domestic banality in this movie are just dead weight. Photography is noticeably good. The ending is Hollywood happy, not the least bit believable.

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