Forgive Minghella for taking a breather, even if Breaking and Entering exhales nothing but hot air.
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Despite very good performances and solid construction, it's a slightly too symmetrical, way too tendentious side-by-side comparison of two families -- Haves, meet the Have-nots -- who come into unlikely contact in the fitfully gentrifying area of Kings Cross.
The movie has a gentle, bemused intelligence, the tone of British liberalism at its most open-minded.
This is an ambitious midlife-crisis movie that valiantly weaves together big themes, among them the nagging guilt of the successful, wealthy artist.
Bold in scope and aptly mimicking the loose structures of kinship, friendship and work most city dwellers make do with these days, Breaking and Entering nonetheless plays out too quiet and too loose for its own good.
There's no shortage of candidates for the fatal flaw: the artificial storyline; the presence of a ridiculously cliched character; the lack of chemistry between illicit lovers. Blaming one of these problems is probably unfair. The movie's failure is likely based on a fusion of all these, and perhaps a few others.
However admirably Minghella urges a break from complacency and an entry into a state of local/global compassion, his characters are position holders rather than people.
After being strapped down by a run of elegant, high-class literary adaptations--"The English Patient," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and "Cold Mountain"--writer-director Anthony Minghella liberates himself in Breaking And Entering, his first wholly original screenplay since his piercing, minor-key debut feature "Truly, Madly, Deeply."
Entirely respectable in every way, it nonetheless has a very cool body temperature and thus likely will inspire polite admiration rather than excitement among viewers.