Film Review: “Breaking In” (2018) ★★★


Any film where a woman takes a combative role always wins. Remember Jennifer Lopez in “Enough” or Jodie Foster in “Panic Room”? Were they not good at protecting themselves and their loved ones? With all this #METOO movement doing the rounds, it feels really necessary to bring women forward, give them the parts men usually do, and allow them to have the final word. Certainly, the time where male actors would have more lines to deliver in films has passed as well as the thought of him being the head of the family and protecting his territory. With “Breaking In”, I hope a new era for women will arrive as what Gabrielle Union does is what we need to prove — that physical power is no longer dominated by one gender only… Not anymore, not in our silver screens at least…

“Breaking In” follows Sean Russell, a single mother who takes her two children to her recently deceased father’s Malibu mansion to have it ready by Monday for selling out in the market. But that plan will be disrupted by a group of men who break into the house in search of large sums of money. In fact, the breakers were not worried that much as the woman for them was an easy target to calm down, capture and force all the answers out of, whatever they were looking for in the house. But instead, they discover the fighter that hid inside that woman who would never stop fighting until the abductors released her children.

The film begins with a man who decides to run in the nearby park. As he continues running, a Porsche passing by hits him. What could have been just an accident turns into deliberate and purposeful crime, when the old man gets killed by the driver who leaves the car. In the next scene we find Sean having a mother-and-children discussion in the car, explaining why she had to sell the mansion and her reasons for not being close with her father. The children express their disagreement being part of her weekend journey, which Sean agrees with. She even adds: “I know this is not how you would like to spend your weekend. Guess what? Me neither”, Sean insists. But a few hours later when her children will be kept hostage and she forced to get the money, it surely won’t be the best weekend ever, while for some it will be the last one.

Written by Ryan Engle, produced by Gabrielle Union, James Lopez, Craig Perry, Sheila Hanahan Taylor and Will Packer, and directed by
James McTeigue, “Breaking In” is an impressive modern suspenseful thriller about the cat and mouse game between four criminals and one woman who is determined to show them how wrong they are about judging the capability of the woman and demonstrating who’s boss. Even though it’s a predictable premise, one thing this film succeeds at is avoiding fooling around and puts the intention upfront so the viewer can enjoy the film more than just a complicated plot which this film never had.

Overall, “Breaking In” is the right film that arrived at the right time. Some lines written were quite interesting but unusual to hear. And that is because all those speeches we’re used to hear from men instead of women. But Ryan Engle’s script has no intention of slowing down and allows Sean Russell to lead the parade. And in the end, there is one thing every viewer must take away from this film — self-defence is an important skill to own. Even if you never get a chance to use it, it is good to have the skill etched to your body as a great precaution against unexpected harm. And thanks to Gabrielle Union’s effort we all have surely noted that down.

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