Breaking In (2018)

I knew almost nothing about this film before seeing it, I hadn’t seen a trailer, or even a poster for it (yet I did see plenty of trailers for Entebbe at our local cinema, which would be fine if they were actually showing that film. As it is it’s like “We’re going to get you excited about this film you won’t see. Why’s piracy going up? I blame millennials and avocados”. I think a lot of you won’t know either so I’ll explain it. Essentially Gabrielle Union’s character has been locked out of her home by people who are trying to break into a safe in her (recently deceased) father’s home. The script does everything it can to make it tense, her children are locked in the home being held hostage, which ups the tension for her. But also to get into the safe the burglars had to cut off electricity, and after 90 minutes of that, the police are automatically called, which adds tension there. The script is so goddamn tense it’s almost genius. Sadly, the rest of the film didn’t add up. There’s no visual brilliance to it, it doesn’t seem, on a technical level, to be that impressive. A film like this should be an emotional rollercoaster, taking you on a wild ride. This is more like one of those old wooden rollercoasters, it’s steady, does its job, but it never really reaches the heights that other similar things do, so you feel it’s lacking somewhat. On the upside, it also doesn’t go as low as it could. There are moments where it seems like it’s going to go off the rails and crash horrifically, but it doesn’t, it stays on course and remains good. For example, the film is a female-focused action film, all “don’t underestimate mothers” etc. Near the end the dad arrives, and he arrives at such a moment that it seems like he’s going to save the day. The woman we’ve watched kick ass throughout, can only be saved by a man. But then he gets knocked out quite quickly and she has to save him.

Now’s the best time to mention the acting. The actors playing the bad guys are great Billy Burke completely fills the screen with his presence whenever he’s on. Levi Meaden is pretty great too, despite looking like what Gerard Way would look like if he was in a Green Day tribute band. The film definitely belongs to Gabrielle Union though. You never think “that actress can’t do this”, even when you feel it’s a bit weird that the character can do certain things with no training. To be honest, I did think it was going to end similar to The Drop, where it turns out she’s been a trained killer all this time. I felt certain that’s how it was going to end, as it explained a lot of the things she knew how to do, and I was really excited to see the actress do it as I feel she would have nailed it. Sadly that wasn’t the case, is a shame as I think it would have worked. It would have made it something different from just the standard plot which this has. That’s the thing that stops me loving it, it’s good, but almost everything has been done before. Also, the opening was needless.

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