Movie Reviews
12:07 pm
Tue March 13, 2007

Breaking and Entering

Eros in for Repair

Breaking and Entering

"Eros goes in for repair tomorrow, with some abatement presumably of the transports and pains of love in central London." London Times, 1984, comment on the restoration of Piccadilly Circus's Eros statue.


Breaking and Entering is a heart breaker: Anthony Minghella's chick-flick touch (consider English Patient and Cold Mountain) is lost in the cold of its protagonist's heart; Juliette Binoche can't seem to warm up to the charm of actor Jude Law, who walks through another role as a child-like heart hunter. Add to those heartbreaks an ending not even remotely plausible and as romantically unresolved as any recent film's.

The premise is intriguing: Architect Will Francis (Law) gets involved with the mother of a thief who has cat-burgled more than once Will's building project in London's Kings Cross district. Minghella has woven a neat little theme about metaphors, which Will (Law) bandies about with his current lover's (Robin Wright Penn) daughter, Bea (Poppy Rogers), leading us to interpret the film's many themes through the figurative, metaphorical route. Bea's autistic anarchy is on one level annoying but on a figurative one reflects her mother's inscrutable "Scandinavian spells."

When Will says, "I tidy," he is parsing his own narrow, obsessive character and characterizing the film's end, which Minghella tidies up for a feel good fest. The renovation of the "dicey" Kings Cross area with Will's project is also emblematic of Will's need for a do-over. This literary accompaniment helps raise the level of the film from maudlin tripe.

Yes, London looks good to this London-loving critic, and Gabriel Yared and Underworld's original score helps with mood and intelligence when the actors can't. In the end, the figures of speech, the locale, and the music still can't overcome a hole in the film landscape that no building can overcome (my attempt at metaphor, no better than the film's many figures itself).