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Breaking and Entering

Love is no ordinary crime. 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Breaking and Entering

Director: Anthony Minghella

Starring: Jude Law Juliette Binoche Robin Wright Penn Martin Freeman Ray Winstone

Breaking and Entering is a fascinating, funny and touching film about overlapping lives and different circumstances. It has shades of other such films set in England such as This Year’s Love and The Lawless Heart, but manages to focus wider than just on personal relationships; the characters combine to depict the richness of twenty-first-century life.

Jude Law plays Will, an architect working with Sandy (Freeman, on excellent comedy form) on a development project near King's Cross. The project aims to make statements about the role of nature in modern life but stumbles as the offices are repeatedly broken into by freerunning crooks. These urban acrobats are the younger generation of a Bosnian crime ring and while Will comes into contact with them on one front (the damage to his business) he also uncertainly approaches from another side by befriending the mother of one of the freerunners, the seamstress Amira (Binoche). As relationships develop and authorities tighten the net, it is not only the criminals who are put under pressure; Will's relationship with Amira complicates his own family life with Liv (Wright Penn) and her borderline autistic daughter Beatrice.

Despite the many characters and complex webs of relationships, Breaking and Entering never loses the viewer. It successfully paints, as Leo Robson puts it, "a swarming world that exists off camera and continues between takes", and draws you into its realm where moral decisions are not answered in simple black and white terms. One example of Breaking and Entering’s subtle approach to the modern world is the contrast between Ray Winstone's character (a plain clothes policeman) and Mark Benton's (a social worker). The expected sympathies are turned around regarding the interests of Amira's freerunning son Miro (Rafi Gavron), the cop having the boy's interests and future in mind while the social worker takes a bullying, condescending approach.

Looking at the world through a sophisticated lens to pick up the real complex way we operate, and providing amazing performances, particularly from Law and the two younger members of the cast, Breaking and Entering is an extremely intelligent and emotionally affecting film not to be missed.

James Miles

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)