03rd Aug2018

‘Breaking In’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus, Levi Meaden, Seth Carr, Mark Furze, Jason George, Christa Miller, Damien Leake | Written by Ryan Engle | Directed by James McTeigue


Breaking In stars Gabrielle Union as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security. No trap, no trick and especially no man inside can match a mother with a mission when she is determined on breaking in…

Let’s get this out of the way first, Breaking In is the personification of what Direct-to-Video represents… Even though the film made a [albeit brief] appearance in UK cinemas! The merits of filmmaking and all round production are unequivocally abysmal. Made even more tragic and disheartening with sizeable talent in front and behind the camera. Most notably that of director James McTeigue, with credits such as The Matrix and V for Vendetta, as well as re-teaming with Lana Wachowski and Lily Wachowski on the superb Netflix series Sense8.

McTeigue injects ZERO attributes of style or flavour into an incredibly restrained and bland thriller, that fails to impress on any and every attribute. The editing from Joseph Jett Sally is choppy, distant, unintelligible and at the poor standard of a made to television production for Lifetime.

Stylistically it lacks any form of prowess or conviction. Contextually it fails to convey any sense of tension or atmosphere with quick cutaways from any snippets of violence, presumably to shy away from embracing a higher rating, something in hindsight would have allowed Breaking In to express itself a little more tenfold and feel slightly more comfortable and free to explore the genre.

Instead what we have is a constricted, nullified film that doesn’t even comply with genre conventions, which is lacklustre, to say the least. It’s predictable and bland, throwing little to no curveballs or intrigue in the way of the plot which is simplified to a point of oblivion, with a script that is fundamentally brittle and nullified with so little depth or interest. Causing more pain to proceedings than the villains in the piece itself.

Performances are bland and boring. Both the protagonists and antagonists have two moods. Pout and Pander. Two faces of acting ability that define the film. Gabrielle Union and Billy Burke are, quite frankly, horrific. Having previously appeared in bit-parts and most notably supporting players, here – when they have the room to adapt to leads – they fail monumentally, partly due to the screenplay and partly due to the extent of their ability to evoke any form of realistic emotion.

Things are made worse in the fact that somehow the film manages to stretch a relatively short running time of 88 minutes into what feels like three-hours of despair. A truly spectacular attribute the film can boast…


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