These past couple of weeks have been an odd time for cinema. With Avengers: Infinity War soaking up all the spare cash right now, movie studios have wisely chosen to move their new releases as far away from the Marvel behemoth as possible – and quite right too.
The result? The last few weeks has seen the release of some pretty shitty movies.
With Deadpool 2 not due in cinemas for another few days and Solo: A Star Wars Story not due for another couple of weeks, it’s slim pickings out there. So slim in fact that I’ve pretty much watched all of the movies at my local multiplex that are worth watching.
And this leads me onto this blog post, which is about Breaking In – a home invasion thriller from director James McTeigue. Breaking In stars Gabrielle Union and Billy Burke, went on general release on Friday and is the movie I watched today… because there was nothing much else to watch.
OK, so I’m being a bit harsh. I actually fancied watching Breaking In.
I saw the trailer for Breaking In a couple of weeks’ ago and thought ‘this has a bit of a Panic Room vibe to it – maybe it’s worth a watch’. It was easily the best of what else was on offer (I Feel Pretty, Sherlock Gnomes etc), so I was up for giving it a chance.
So, was it worth my money?
If this was a movie on Netflix, then I’d give it a little more praise. That’s not to knock Netflix, it’s just that Breaking In feels like a small screen film rather than a big screen one, so it kind of felt like a hollow experience seeing it at the pictures.
For those not familiar with Breaking In, the movie is a low budget affair which focuses on a family terrorised by four criminals. The criminals break into the family’s home in order to steal a large sum of money and this leads to a good ol’ dash of fighting back to keep things interesting.
The key selling point of this movie is lead star, Gabrielle Union who plays Shaun Russell – the matriarch of the family. Shaun is one tough cookie and is not ready to let the criminal gang walk all over her, so this movie is really about the way in which she deals with the situation as it unfolds.
As far as Shaun goes, she’s a strong character and the real gem of this movie. She’s determined, she’s ballsy and she’s not afraid to stand up to those who threaten her family.
A big tick for Shaun then. More of this please!
In fact, in terms of the plus points of Breaking In, Shaun – or rather, actress Gabrielle Union – is the biggest reason to watch this movie. She is the one thing that stops this film from becoming stale.
Now that said, I wanted more from her. I wanted so much more.
Breaking In isn’t a bad movie – it’s a perfectly serviceable thriller which does exactly what it says it will do. But it could have been a much better thriller if only Union had been given the chance to really push this character.
Union gives a great performance, there’s no doubt about that – it’s just that it feels like she’s holding back at times and that’s a real shame. And also, I don’t for one second think that it’s her fault; I honestly believe she was not given the room to really develop her character.
There are times when it feels like Shaun Russell is about to go all ‘Jack Bauer’ and really kick off with the bad guys, but then there are times when that side of her character fades back into ‘angry soccer mum’ territory. These peaks and troughs become a bit frustrating after a while and instead of going on an emotional journey with the character you kind of feel like you’re going through the motions.
I don’t want to go through the motions. I want a great character who I can really champion. I want a movie I can really champion too!
A little while back I published a post on audiences demanding more from movies. Breaking In is a perfect example of this – it’s a movie that could have been a real standout tale during the breather weekend between Avengers and Deadpool, but alas it’s not.
It’s not bad. It’s not good. It’s simply OK.
If movie studios expect audiences to pay to see movies that aren’t huge tent pole releases (Star Wars, Marvel, DC etc) then they need to stop serving up movies that feel half-arsed. Breaking In isn’t a half-arsed movie, but it’s certainly not the film it could have been and that’s the biggest disappointment.