DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Breaking and Entering - Recommended

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Kevin EK, May 13, 2007.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Breaking and Entering

    Studio: The Weinstein Company/Miramax
    Film Year: 2006
    Film Length: 1 hour 59 minutes
    Genre: Drama

    Aspect Ratio:

    • 2.35:1 theatrical ratio

    Colour/B&W: Colour

    • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
    Film Rating: R

    Release Date: May 8, 2007.

    Rating: 3/5

    With: Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn
    Written and Directed by: Anthony Minghella

    BREAKING AND ENTERING is a lyrical, haunting drama about everyday life from Anthony Minghella, the director of THE ENGLISH PATIENT and COLD MOUNTAIN. For this film, he is reunited with Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, both of whom play very different parts from his prior work with them. The basic plot of the film is deceptively simple. Jude Law plays an architect whose workspace is robbed. His investigation of the robbery brings him into contact with a Bosnian refugee played by Juliette Binoche, and exposes the gaps in his own relationship with Robin Wright Penn. If you look below the surface, a lot of complex and poetic things are occurring throughout.

    Be aware that this is not the thriller promised by the film’s trailer, nor is it simply a love story. Rather, it is a glimpse into the spaces that exist between people, and the possibility of closing the distance. The film does not completely succeed – Minghella aims very high, trying to encompass contrasting pictures of motherhood, class difference, and the city of London itself within a narrative that can’t sustain it. But this film will stay with you afterward, and it’s worth your time to see.


    BREAKING AND ENTERING is presented in a solid anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer here. Minghella and director of photography Benoit Delhomme work with a pretty wide color palate, contrasting the upper and lower class environments on display here. Minghella is an interesting visual composer – many scenes are viewed through windows, through foreground obstruction, or counterpointed with mirrors. Several scenes end with a deliberate loss of focus – something which can be a problem in less capable hands, but which pays dividends here.


    BREAKING AND ENTERING is presented in English and French 5.1 surround mixes. The surround channels get a surprising amount of use for what is primarily a character drama. The music and effects come through very nicely, and the dialogue is fairly clear. I admit to needing to go to the subtitles a few times, but this was due to the dialects on display throughout. (There are some British phrasings that I simply didn’t get on the first pass.) There is also a surprising amount of subwoofer in the mix, mostly in the music.


    • Feature Commentary with Anthony Minghella – Minghella provides a thoughtful analysis of the film as he watches it with you. It’s a fairly dense track, encompassing discussions of the cast, the locations, the filming process, and many other things. Early on, he reveals the film’s origins: he had written a play centered on a married couple who comes home to find their home has been burgled – only to find that the burglars were not stealing but instead ADDING things. As with all of Minghella’s commentaries, this one is worth a listen not only for what you will learn about the film itself, but for all the other things he includes along the way.

    • Lie. Cheat. Steal. Love. The Making of BREAKING AND ENTERING – (12:51) This is a brief non-anamorphic look at the making of the film, with interviews with the cast and Minghella as well as co-producer Sydney Pollack. This mostly consists of the usual mutual compliments between cast and director intercut with the obligatory film clips, but it does give a taste of the more in-depth examinations to be found on the commentary.

    • Deleted Scenes – (8:48 total) Six deleted scenes from the beginning of the film are included in non-anamorphic format, with optional commentary by Minghella. The scenes add interesting shadings here and there but they are unnecessary to the film. In his commentary, Minghella notes that he doesn’t really understand putting scenes he cut out of the film back onto the DVD, but he quickly gets into the spirit of it and notes why each moment was removed. At one point, he notes the presence of his parents in a deleted party moment and says that this alone probably makes the scene worth putting on the disc.

    • Theatrical Trailer (2:15) The theatrical trailer is included here in non-anamorphic format. It makes for interesting viewing, before and after you watch the film. The trailer presents the film as a thriller, which is not accurate when you actually see the film. In truth, this is a hard film to categorize, which would account for the difficulty in making a trailer for it, and for the relative lack of attention and box office it has received.

    Subtitles are available for the film in English and Spanish. The DVD defaults to a third subtitle track which translates some of the Bosnian spoken in the film. In checking the subtitles, I also noted a French placeholder track, but with no subtitles running in any of the scenes I viewed. The featurette and deleted scenes are subtitled in English.

    A scene index is included for easy access. And when you first put the DVD in the player, you’ll see a series of non-anamorphic Weinstein Company trailers which can be skipped via the menu button.

    IN THE END...

    If you’re already a fan of Jude Law or Juliette Binoche or Anthony Minghella, you probably already have this DVD. If not, BREAKING AND ENTERING is a movie you most likely haven’t heard of, or would not normally think about seeing. I recommend giving it a look. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    Kevin Koster
    May 13, 2007.
  2. Adam Gregorich


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