Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Punishment’s crimes

Breaking and Entering
Directed by: Anthony Minghella
Starring: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn, Martin Freeman

Anthony Minghella is a genius. No doubt about it. Who can ever forget The English Patient (1996)? Only Minghella could bring out the passion and intensity of Michael Ondaatje rhapsodic novel. After that he seemed to have lost his winning touch, though made two more films based on novels, the brilliant The Talented Mr Ripley (1999), and longwinded Cold Mountain (2003). Both movies, starring Jude Law, failed to survive at the box office through garnered some rave reviews.
That is why a new Minghella film is an occasion you look forward to. The news is that this time around he has directed his own screenplay, and he has focused on the present time, here and now. He has a top-order star cast, Jude Law, Juliet Binoche (whom he directed in The English Patient for which she received an Oscar) and Robin Wright Penn at his disposal and he gives the film a postmodern title Breaking and Entering. You expect a winner, and somehow, Minghella fails to live up to expectation. It’s a good movie, one of the best films released last year, but somewhere, like his previous Cold Mountain, the premises on which the film is built is lost, and it ends up looking like another mismatched love story, that you have see hundredth time on the screen.
The film tageline reads: Love is no ordinary crime and we take on the face value. But the activities of breaking and entering into something or someone does not end in love alone, it has a far deeper meaning. Theft has a different meaning here. You can persecute a thief who breaks into your house. But what do you do when the thief breaks into you heart and disrupts your life and forces you to make choices, which not only will change your life but the life of those around you.
Will Francis (Jude Law) is a young landscape architect living a cold, routine-based life with his girlfriend Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and her behaviourally challenged daughter Bea in London. Recently, Will has observed that his state-of-the-office in King’s Cross has been repeatedly burgled. Soon he spots a teenager. Will peruses the thief, which lead him to mysterious Amira (Juliette Binoche), a Bosnian refugee, the thief Miro’s (Rafi Gavron) mother. Soon Will breaks and enters into the emotional world of Amira. Will is looking for the comforts of a home he never had while Amira harbours him in order to protect her son. So ensues the drama of love’s loses and gains, choices and redemption.
The first thing that attracts you to the film is the performance. French actress Binoche is extraordinary as usual. She has a knack of playing vulnerable characters to perfection and here her act of Bosnian woman is perfect to the tilt of her voice. Law gives a restrained, impeccable performance. But it’s Penn’s presence that makes you sit tight and watch, especially towards the end of the film.
Like all Minghella movies, it is beautifully shot, offering the audience the glimpses of London as it is today, a melting pot of the clash of cultures. This is the highlight of the film and the film achieves in bringing home the idea.

Rating *** (Good)

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