Breaking In - 2018
Director(s): James McTeigue
Writer(s): Ryan Engle
Cinematography by: Toby Oliver
Editor(s): Joseph Jett Sally
Cast: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus and Seth Carr
Synopsis: A woman fights to protect her family during a home invasion (IMDB).
Breaking in is your typical home invasion movie, a la Panic Room or You’re Next, except bad. Don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t insultingly bad, it’s just boring and saturated with tropes. While I appreciate Gabrielle Union’s acting and effort, there isn’t a single second in this entire movie in where something original or unconventional happens. It’s almost like writer Ryan Engle saw a bunch of home invasion movies, wrote down the over used tropes and then wrote his screenplay around them. So what you are left with is a low budget rethread of better acted, better edited, better scored and better directed movies that you are probably already tired of seeing. With that said – lets dig in a bit more.
This is a movie. If you Google its runtime, the overlords will tell you it’s 1hr and 28mn including the opening and end credits. So, technically it’s not a long episode of a series nobody watches. After watching this…movie, I wanted to see what else its director had done in the past and was blown away by the fact that James McTeigue also directed V for Vendetta. The action, the pacing, the tone and the camera placement felt amateurish, as if after directing his first movie he has only regressed in talent instead of building on a promising debut. The “fight” scenes are weirdly structured and they don’t even try to hide the fact that the camera movement and the edits are supposed to sell the punches and kicks. I can’t believe this is the same man that directed one of my favorite comic book movies.
Quick note: the movie also opens with an older gentleman running in slow motion for a long time and mysteriously dying. This mystery is never addressed or explored for the rest of the movie. I kept waiting for the call back that never came. It just ended up feeling like a commercial for running shoes that had a dark twist in the end.
Another aspect that baffled me about this movie was the sound and the score. There are moments in the movie that are so quiet your ears take time to adjust to what’s happening. And it’s not that she is sneaking around and all the sudden the sound goes away to create tension, its during fight sequences or “tense” conversations. It was honestly weird and it takes you completely out of the movie. You barely hear the gunshots, punches and the falls that should’ve been impactful for the audience that is trying to see this mom save her kids. There are scenes in where their tone of voice is louder than the gunshots. As for the score, it was almost like the composer recorded himself listening to a recording of another score and just submitted it. Faint music in the background that I guess was meant to invoke emotion.
Quick note: I had a blast watching this movie and it was all thanks to the ladies behind me. Her blurted-out lines made the entire theater laugh and probably my favorite came during a fight scene that included Gabrielle Union. When one of the bad guys grabbed her by the hair and one of the ladies yelled; “Oh no honey, not the good weave!”. Thank you, madam. You are an angel amongst humans.
Breaking In is a made-for-TV movie at best. I wouldn’t even call it a Netflix movie and that’s saying a lot, given what has come out this year as “Netflix originals”. Like I said above, it’s not insultingly bad, it’s just inconsequential, almost like you are hearing an echo of a movie you barely wanted to see in the first place back in 2002. It’s devoid of tension, drama or good action leaving the audience to look deeper at the acting only to find Union is the only one actually trying. I think one of the bad guys made the decision prior to filming that his character never blinks or that blinking is for good guys and its hilarious and creepy. The ladies behind me also pointed this out. Angels. So, watching movies with angels is why I love movies? I’m sorry. I’m struggling on this one.
Breaking In is currently playing in theaters. Just say no, kids.
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