Movie Review: ‘Breaking In’ Won’t Have People Breaking In To See It
I was quite excited to see Gabrielle Union back on screen, and heading up a movie that screams out the conventions of both thriller and horror in its trailer, was an exciting prospect. The idea and storyline is genuinely quite a clever one, and had the potential to be a shout out to feminism and strong women everywhere, but sadly I am convinced the impact of regulatory bodies and the need for a wide audience has reduced the film to a bowl of poorly realised archetypes.
We follow the story of Shaun (Union) who travels back to her childhood home after the death of her father to get it ready for selling. Poorly executed narrative exposition reveals considerable issues between Shaun and her father. Saying that, we don’t really understand why that is even part of the narrative – we later realise it hardly matters if Shaun liked her father or disliked her father – it had no impact on the outcome. Accompanied by her two children, Glover and Jasmine, Shaun discovers how technologically savvy her father had become with the modifications to his house. Shortly after their arrival, it transpires that Shaun’s father has also been illegally hiding money (again poorly revealed through dialogue) and this has enticed a band of merry villains to the property. The archetypal villains, headed up by the devious Billy Burke (bringing his full-on ‘Major Crimes’ facial expressions to this movie too) play cat and mouse with Shaun, Glover and Jasmine and the audience is left with poor dialogue, funny (not intended to be) set pieces, and continuity that makes you want to scream at the screen.
As the film developed I started considering the possible improvements – first up, strip away the regulations of gore, blood and swearing – this could be a lot more powerful to fits its thriller genre. Secondly, this film is dangerously messing around with the idea of empowered women, with poor dialogue (“No…I’m just a Mom”) stripping away Union’s strength in her actions. I suggested having a female character as an antagonist too, or making one of the male ‘henchmen’ slightly more nuanced as they all conformed to a mould that felt almost laughable. Thirdly, sort out your continuity and overall logic so that we don’t ask… How’d she get shoes? How did she get them back again? How did he get to the house so quickly? How did they plan to get away?
I wouldn’t be rushing to choose this unless you have watched ‘Avengers’ at least 6 times and need something to break up the excellence.
There is little chance of audiences having to break into the cinema to see this movie.
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Gray has been teaching Media and Film studies for 11 years now, and saturates himself in a world of TV and Film. Can most regularly be found with his iPad bingeing on a TV series whenever there is a spare moment between planning and marking. Gray has 3 years of writing experience for exam boards and educational resource companies too.