The latest from director Anthony Minghella ("Talented Mr. Ripley"), "Breaking and Entering" is a quiet, subtle drama starring Jude Law as Will, an architect who has just moved his business into the London area of King's Cross, which he plans to be involved in heavily renovating with his partner (Martin Freeman).
However, it's not long before their office is broken into by Miro (Rafi Gavron), a young Bosnian refugee who lives nearby with his mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche). While Amira wants her son to have opportunities and do well in school, he continues a life of crime and eventually becomes fascinated with the life he finds within Will's computer. When Will suffers another break-in at the office, he becomes determined to catch the thief in the act, eventually nabbing Miro.
When he takes the boy to his mother, he becomes interested in her and decides not to report him. Will sees the woman as an escape from the difficulty of his current relationship with Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and their troubled daughter, Bea (Poppy Rogers). The remainder of the film watches as the consequences of Will's actions unfold.
"Breaking and Entering" has some technically solid performances going for it, especially Binoche as the mother who wants the best for her child. Law, on the other hand, turns in another average performance and doesn't have much chemistry with either of the main actresses. However, the film lacks a certain spark, as Minghella keeps the film rather emotionally distant throughout the show and takes a little too long to get going. Cinematography and score (by Gabriel Yared) also keep the mood somber and low-key.
"Breaking and Entering" never fully involved me, but it does have fine performances going for it. It's a character study that could have used more urgency and a bit more work on the screenplay to iron out some moments that seem unrealistic.
VIDEO: "Breaking and Entering" is presented by Genius Productions in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This was generally a good presentation, although it wasn't without some minor concerns at times. Sharpness and detail were uneven throughout the presentation, as while much of the picture appeared moderately well-defined, some interiors could appear a little softer, with so-so small object detail.
Aside from the varying sharpness, some minor edge enhancement and artifacting was seen on a couple of occasions. The print appeared crisp and clear, aside from one or two very slight specks. Colors appeared largely subdued and chilly, likely by intent.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is largely as quiet an affair as the movie itself. Dialogue-driven throughout the show, there's little in the way of noticable surround use. Audio quality was fine, with clear, undistorted dialogue throughout the show.
EXTRAS: Audio commentary from writer/director Anthony Menghella, "Lie, Cheat, Steal, Love" featurette, 6 deleted scenes w/commentary and trailer.
Final Thoughts: Well-acted but chilly and low-key, "Breaking and Entering" showcases some fine performances but lacks intensity and often feels a little too distant. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, along with a nice set of supplements. Rent it.
The Film C+