Breaking and Entering

on December 15, 2006 by Kevin Courrier
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Like last year's Academy Award-winning "Crash," "Breaking and Entering" is about random collisions between classes and cultures. It's also just as contrived.

Here, Jude Law stars as Will, an architect out to transform the poverty-stricken King's Row area of London who enters into an intricate liaison with a Bosnian widow (Juliette Binoche) after her son and some of his confederates break into his office and steal the company computers. Working diligently to set up an intricate plot, director/writer Anthony Minghella contrasts Will's uncommunicative marriage with the deep bond he soon develops with a family of poor refugees from war-torn Bosnia. The parallel structure of the movie, though, is so symmetrically pat that the characters end up as pawns in the picture's earnest humanism.

Law comes across as opaque, failing to provide the shadings needed to show us what Will hopes to gain (or lose) from the romantic attachment he establishes with the widow. The picture might have developed some dramatic tension if Robin Wright-Penn, as Will's wife, was allowed to play more than just a sounding board. Luckily, Binoche gives the picture some gravity, but it makes little sense that she'd be a willing participant in this illicit affair.

The only real snap in the movie is provided by the background characters. Ray Winstone gets to be sharp as razor blades playing the investigating detective. Verma Farmiga, as a local hooker, provides some funny and lively off-color commentary on her profession. And Martin Freeman (the British "Office"), who plays Will's business partner, gives a performance of such rich complexity and sly humor that if his story was at the heart of the movie, "Breaking and Entering" would be more than just a minor misdemeanor.

Distributor: Weinstein
Cast: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright-Penn, Martin Freeman, Ray Winstone and Verma Farmiga
Director/Screenwriter: Anthony Minghella
Producers: Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella and Timothy Bricknell
Genre: Drama
Rating: R for sexuality and language
Running time: 120 min. Release date: December 15, 2006 LA, January 26, 2007 wide

Tags: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright-Penn, Martin Freeman, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, class, culture, poverty, family, infidelity
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