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Breaking and Entering(2006)
Jude Law plays Will, a landscape architect who succeeds in business but finds his personal life is tougher to navigate. He has been with Liv for years, but it's difficult to connect with her due to her worry over her teenage daughter. When Will catches a teenage boy named Miro breaking into his office, he chases the thief home. He later meets the boy's mother, a Bosnian refugee played by Juliette Binoche. His anger at Miro is quickly transformed into attraction to his mother, further complicating his relationship with Liv.
For more about Breaking and Entering and the Breaking and Entering Blu-ray release, see Breaking and Entering Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 7, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Anthony Minghella
Writer: Anthony Minghella
Starring: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn, Rafi Gavron, Martin Freeman, Ed Westwick
» See full cast & crew
Breaking and Entering Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 7, 2008
A poignant picture about a Bosnian immigrant (Juliette Binoche) living in London with her charming but reckless son (Rafi Gavron), and an ambitious architect (Jude Law) who has a difficult time communicating with his Swedish partner (Robin Wright Penn), "Breaking and Entering" (2006) is undoubtedly Anthony Minghella's most intimate work to date. Beautifully-scripted pic boasts a distinctively contemporary look complimented by a wonderful soundtrack. Courtesy of Miramax.
Will (Law) is a talented architect who has relocated his firm in the middle of King's Cross, a notoriously bad part of London. He is working on an ambitious project that will rejuvenate the area's infrastructure and, eventually, improve its image. At home, Will must work on improving his relationship with his partner Liv (Penn), and their daughter Bea (Rogers).
A gang of thieves breaks into Will's office and steals his brand new equipment as well as his personal laptop. He informs the police, but the thieves strike again. Will decides to take matters into his own hands – hidden in a van, he starts camping outside his office with his partner (Freeman). One of the thieves, a young boy (Gavron), shows up again and Will follows him home. Instead of getting the police involved, however, Will approaches his mother (Binoche), a Bosnian immigrant, working hard to make ends meet.
Breaking and Entering is a highly emotional film told in a remarkably subdued manner. In it, complicated relationships are studied from different points of view, allowing the audience to see through equally complex emotions, and eventually understand why the main protagonists struggle. Not surprisingly, the more the story progresses the easier it is to deconstruct its nuanced sub-layers.
The key theme behind Breaking and Entering is forgiveness. First, it is Law's character who forgives the young thief. Then, it is his wife who agrees to forgive his affair with the boy's mother. Finally, it is the boy's mother who forgives her son and leaves London. In a way, forgiveness is used as a leitmotiv, effectively linking different stories where similarly hurt and lonely people struggle with personal dilemmas.
Breaking and Entering is also a film with strong political overtones. It entertains familiar themes about class awareness (Will's actions during the second half are very transparent), and the manner in which people from different social groups perceive justice. Unsurprisingly, this is precisely what many critics believe Anthony Minghella should have avoided – producing political observations, within the context of a seemingly intimate film, about the willingness to change and forgive.
Whether or not Breaking and Entering will resonate with you as a political film, however, or a modern story about people with serious personal problems, depends largely on how you deconstruct the actions of the main protagonists. If you conclude that punishment isn't the natural answer to crime then, by all means, you shall find Breaking and Entering to be a rewarding experience. If you, however, determine that crime, no matter the reasoning behind it, should not be encouraged by a willingness to forgive, heartfelt or not, then Breaking and Entering will most certainly come off as yet another pretentious story about normal film characters, rather than normal people looking to rebuild their lives.
I shall leave you with a short description of how Breaking and Entering resonated with me. It made me think, and eventually question myself. It also forced me to ponder what fuels human beings' willingness to easily condemn and punish each other, what makes forgiveness so suspicious? I am unsure I've found good answers to my questions, but I've come up with plenty of speculations. And the more I speculate, the more I admire Anthony Minghella's film.
Breaking and Entering Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, Anthony Minghella'a Breaking and Entering arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Miramax/Buena Vista.
In a lot of different ways this Blu-ray disc is rather unusual. First of all, much to my disappointment, Breaking and Entering was never released in the United States. So, for someone who follows Juliette Binoche's work very closely, it was quite unfortunate to have to wait and hope for a domestic release. Eventually, just as I did with Cédric Klapisch's Paris, I obtained the European Blu-ray disc, as it became clear that the Weinstein Company will not be releasing it in the US. This being said, Breaking and Entering is also the first title from Miramax, that I have seen, to use the VC-1 codec.
The quality of the actual transfer, however, is up to Miramax's high standards. Breaking and Entering is a very recent film and, not surprisingly, detail and clarity here are of exceptionally high quality. Contrast is also impressive - the daylight scenes are vibrant and extremely rich, while the nighttime scenes are free of film noise and very impressive. Furthermore, I did not detect any evidence of heavy DNR manipulation either. On the contrary, Breaking and Entering boasts a very natural, highly detailed, look with a strong, notably nuanced, color-scheme. The quality of the actual print is also solid - I did not detect any debris, spots, or dirt marks. Finally, neither edge-enhancement nor macroblocking appear to be issues of concern with the print Buena Vista offer. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" title which you will not be able to play on your Region-A PS3 or SA Also, the Blu-ray disc allows you to set up the entire menu system in one of the following four languages – English, Italian, German, French).
Breaking and Entering Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As revealed in the video synopsis, Breaking and Entering was designed to be a Pan-European release. With other words, it was meant to be sold in a number of different markets. Not surprisingly, just as the disc allows you to set up your own menu, in a preferred by you language, in the audio department you will find a number of different language tracks that you could choose from. The following audio options are available: English: Uncompressed 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, German: DTS 5.1, German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: DTS 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 and French: DTS 5.1. I opted for the English Uncompressed 5.1 mix, and generally speaking, I had a very pleasant experience. First of all, Breaking and Entering is a beautifully composed film with plenty of panoramic vistas from London. There are also a lot of warm, notably intimate, scenes with a variety of close-ups. The reason I mention all of this is because, in a lot of different ways, the audio structure of Anthony Minghella's film closely follows the mood of the main characters – the manner in which they fall in love, how they get angry, how they forgive etc. As a result, you will notice that there are a variety of different tunes here that are intelligently blended with the visuals. This being said, the uncompressed 5.1 track does an excellent job of enhancing the nuanced audio structure I described above. There are some marvelous ambient tunes that I heard coming off my speakers, which were most definitely not detectable on my R1 SDVD courtesy of the Weinstein Company. Furthermore, dialog was crystal clear and extremely easy to follow. There is also quite a bit of activity in the rear channels, mostly when the beautiful soundtrack is on, and I am convinced that you will be very pleased with it. In addition, I did not detect any hissing, pops, or cracks to report here. Optional English, French, Italian, and German subtitles are provided and they appear inside the image frame.
Breaking and Entering Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray disc offers the same extras found on the SDVD release. Here you will find the original theatrical trailer for Breaking and Entering, a movie showcase, and a gallery of deleted scenes with an optional commentary by Anthony Minghella (with optional English, French, German, and Italian subtitles). Next is a "Making of" featurette titled "Lie. Cheat. Steal. Love" (in HD), where you would see plenty of raw footage from the film, complimented by comments from the cast and crew.
Breaking and Entering Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A beautiful film with a terrific message, Anthony Minghella's Breaking and Entering left a memorable impression on me. It truly touched my heart with its encouragement to forgive. I realize that its tone will likely be questioned by many, but such is human nature - it is easier to dismiss than it is to accept, especially when crime is addressed. This being said, the Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Miramax-UK, is of very good quality. If you are capable of playing Region-B discs, I cannot recommend Breaking and Entering highly enough.
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