• Strictly Films

Breaking; Grade: B+


Breaking tells a story about a war vet by the name of Brian Brown-Easley (John Boyega), whom appears to be running low on funds as he’s venturing out on the road with a backpack on, while running out of his minutes on his phone. Brian takes a quick trip to the bank, where he like to take a $25 deposit however… He leaves a note for the bank teller, claiming he has a bomb. Brian allows most of the customers and staff to leave the bank, where two staff members remained on the premises as they’ll be Brian’s hostages. Brian has one significant demand in order to relieve the urge to bomb the bank: Veteran Affairs to bring him his disability check that he claims he’s rightfully owed.


Breaking premiered back at Sundance earlier this year, as the film was rewarded a special award for Best Ensemble Cast. The film has been claimed to be a modern day A Dog Day Afternoon, as you can clearly see the resemblance, as this film features a hostage like situation. This film was my top priority to see coming off from a sore throat I had about a week ago, as Breaking did delivered my expectations.


There is a significant reason why this film went on to win a Best Ensemble Cast award, simply because the entire cast was on the money in this film. Led by a commanding powerhouse performance by John Boyega, as he really delivered a type of performance to really help elevate this film’s potential. John really helps bring us to sympathize with a character like Brian, as even though he brought himself to a very hostile situation… You feel truly sorry for the guy, as you can clearly tell he’s a very innocent vulnerable being whom is in an incredibly emotional state of mind.


Brian coming off the war as he was credited with an honorable discharge: Has found himself in a very crucial financial state. It’s sad enough that a man like Brian has to not only work two jobs, but along with it doesn’t receive the proper care an honorable vet like him so needs. It felt like Brian was all alone, as Brian thought the only way he can be heard is by making out a bomb threat and ironically enough… Brian got the attention he asked for, as they finally cared to listen. In a way: You can symbolize this character as how we’re currently living in a broken system, as even those whom helped served this country can’t seem to be fully taken care of, which then leads to extremely chaotic scenarios like this in order to be heard.


The story was well written, as it kept the viewer fully engaged from start to finish in this hostage like plot. While the viewer knows Brian is an extremely harmless individual, as he allowed most people to flee the bank while also repeatedly apologizing to the two lone hostages… We still are on the edge of our seats, due to the fact Brian is a ticking time bomb, as he goes through these extreme temper tantrums. So even though the viewer can trust that Brian is in full good faith in heart, however the mind can really make the being wild out at any given time especially if they’re triggered, so you always feel any bad thing can happen at any moment.


While we’re baffled by the amount of money Brian claims is owed to him, however I feel we’re more baffled with Veteran Affairs than Brian in this case. Brian not only clearly needs the money, but I feel the frustration and extreme saddening behavior by Brian is more towards the way Veteran Affairs is belittling Brian as not bothering to hear him out. Brian clearly felt betrayed which is why this isn’t about money at all, it’s more about how he’s taken care of as a Veteran as the way Veteran Affairs treated him in this matter broke his heart. I feel baffled by Veteran Affairs simply feeling like this amount of money is more of a big deal, than the man whom actually fought and serve his country, so we’re not allowing to hear him out as maybe you guys might’ve made a mistake?! It’s ridiculous how a piece of paper will somehow value more than a living being, it’s shameful really.


I felt the best sequences were made between Brian conversing with the negotiator Eli (Michael K Williams). Those conversations felt very genuine, like Eli has been in some form of way in Brian’s shoes, as he genuinely cared about the guy and wanted to see him make it out of this mess. It’s not like Eli was pretending to care about Brian in anyway, you clearly tell just by how invested he was conversing with the gentleman, while getting emotional whether it being interrupted or feeling sadden that Brian has come to a place where he feels his life doesn’t matter anymore. Those sequences make you really want Brian to pull through, as possibly maybe Eli can help mentor him to help improve his mental state of mind perhaps.


I guess one significant flaw I like to add, is the reveal at the end was predictable. I feel the conclusion will sadden the viewer, however it does tie in well with the moral message of the story, as it takes extremely drastic measures in order to be heard.


Overall, Breaking was a pretty good film. I highly recommend checking this one out, John Boyega is definitely worth price of admission. Rest in Peace to Michael K Williams… He truly delivered a really good performance in his supporting role, his presence on screen will be heavily missed for sure. -Mitch Smietana

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