Breaking movie review & film summary (2022)

Breaking movie review & film summary (2022)

Boyega viscerally captures the all-too-human layering of power and powerless in being a hostage-taker not out for blood. He has the bomb in his backpack (or so he claims), and he calls the shots, however much they’re punctuated with “Thank you ma’am” or general polite-speak from his shaking, low voice. He has his demands, and they are mostly about getting his money back from the VA (892 dollars) that was taken from his disability check, and getting the news channels to capture what’s really going on. To give him a voice.

But as someone doing a criminal act inside a bank with big glass windows, Brian makes himself a giant target, while nonetheless being fueled by these situations that have made him feel small. Plus, he is always told to hold on the line when trying to get a 9-1-1 dispatch to send police. There is no bluster in what he does, even when his billowing anger turns to scared screaming and crying—nor is there in Boyega’s performance, which from his initial slow march into the Wells Fargo bank gives us the aching impression of someone doing something they don ‘t want to do, but feel they have to. It becomes more and more apparent how much Boyega is put into the right-third of the camera’s frame, not dominating a scene but trying to get through to the next one.

The first third of “Breaking” focuses on this “heist” that Brian operates with two women remaining in the bank; most of the time he is making sure nothing is getting out of hand. He addresses them politely, and apologizes for covering one when something like a gunshot rings through (it’s just someone at the door). The two remaining bank employees, Nicole Beharie’s Estel and Selena Leyva’s Rosa, wrestle with their own composure and sense of safety. They’re compelling energies in it, while helping reveal the humanity of the situation, of what it’s like to be so close to Brian at this moment.

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