review by Bobby Blakey
Even before he completed his time in a galaxy far, far away John Boyega has been tearing through Hollywood with some great roles in films including Detroit, Naked Singularity and more including the upcoming The Woman King and return to his breakout film Attack The Block for its sequel. Now he is teaming up with director Abi Damaris Corbin for the film Breaking co-starring Nicole Beharie, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, Selenis Leyva and the late Michael Kenneth Williams. Could this film bring the dramatic tale to successful life or will it fail to make a withdrawal?
Breaking follows Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley who is denied support from Veterans Affairs, financially desperate and running out of options, forcing him to take a bank and several of its employee’s hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. Based on the true story.
Films like this are not new dealing with desperate people forced into situations that they feel they have no choice about. The true story element always adds a new element and this film is no different. The story is pretty simple, but there are deeper cuts to the reasoning and ones that to some might not be a big deal, but shine a light on a broken system. The lack of greed showcased in the situation really cements this into a more relatable ideal of what he is really wanting.
Boyega is outstanding here bringing a painful, emotional and subtle approach to the role. You believe he is a man who is at the end of his rope and not only doesn’t know what else to do, but wants something more proven. He is polite, calm and sadly relatable to many things still going on today and you can’t help but instantly feel for him. On the opposite side of the coin is the late Williams who is good as well. He is a voice of hope, but not given anything overly interesting to do other than dialogue with Boyega, but its still an important aspect and well performed role.
Within the bank Boyega is doing all the heavy lifting, but his dialogue and banter with both Leyva and Beharie is the weight of this film and also showcases who he really is. How he treats them alone is so different than we see in these kinds of movies and makes it far more impactful in where it is all heading and the message here.
The film is pretty slow at times, but that is kind of a necessity for this kind of story. Some of the things revealed that led to his situation here is infuriating and still something happening today. Love it or hate it, this film takes Easley’s story to shine a light on some of the many issues that need to be addressed and while this film will likely not fix it at least it might get more attention to it.
Check out Breaking when it hits theaters on August 26th from Bleeker Street.