Breaking and Entering
Urban alienation among disillusioned middle-class thirtysomethings is a popular theme in film these days. In Anthony Minghella’s largely refreshing take on the subject, a number of disconnected individuals are connected or re-connected by a resolutely non-philanthropic catalyst event - a burglary. When a young and fatherless Bosnian-English thief named Miro (Rafi Gavron) takes part in the robbery of an architects office in the semi-gentrified Kings Cross area of London, the crime brings one of the firm’s partners, Will (Jude Law), into contact with the boy’s mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche). The uneasy romance that follows provides Will with the emotional sustenance he wasn’t getting from his relationship with distant girlfriend Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and her autistic daughter. As the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle of inter-connected lives slowly fit together, the characters’ relationships with one another are renewed.
It’s a nicely played ensemble piece that also boasts a few interesting supporting characters: Will’s uptight partner Sandy (Martin Freeman), who’s trying to woo the office cleaner; hard-but-fair police detective Bruno (Ray Winstone), who’s attempting to set Miro on the straight and narrow; and hooker with a tarnished heart of gold Oana (Vera Farmiga), whose wry attitude towards life first lifts Will out of his apathetic state. Ultimately, the jigsaw puzzle of these lives fits together a little too neatly, and a climactic scene that brings together all of the main protagonists is unconvincing. But Minghella’s handling of shifting emotional lives (reflected in his use of London’s modern changing cityscape) is generally sound.