Cinematic Releases: Breaking In (2018) Reviewed

You go to the movies to have a good time. You want to have a communal experience. The best film experiences I have ever had are the ones were the crowd is in sync with what is happening on the screen. You all want be shocked, amused, or emotionally touched. You want to feel something and be reminded of why we come back to the movies time and time again. Breaking In is not that movie. Breaking in is a cynical, aimless, and dull excuse for a thriller that made me regret going to see it.

Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) takes her son and daughter on a weekend getaway to her late father's secluded, high-tech vacation home in the countryside. The family soon gets an unwelcome surprise when four men break into the house to find hidden money. After managing to escape, Shaun must now figure out a way to turn the tables on the desperate thieves and save her captive children.

Gabrielle Union plays this mother who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held with the passion and intensity that I am not sure this movie deserves. Her committed and physical performance is one that should be in a way better movie than this used up boring waste of time. It’s way too good for this movie, that’s for sure.  No trap, no trick and especially no man inside can match a mother on mission but I wish that the filmmakers who made this movie had the passion for their mission as Gabrielle Union’s character had.

Things are about to get weird. 

Breaking In feels like a movie made from a movie generator, like the AI generators on Twitter. The one’s that use word clouds to write up screenplays for shows. This film’s script is like that but then someone threw actual money into making it. 

It’s a challenge to review this movie. It’s so dull and generic that I could feel the energy of the audience being sucked out of the room. Everything about this film feels slapdash and thrown together. The staging and lighting are so basic and uninteresting that I could feel myself dozing off. You shouldn’t be dozing off during an action thriller and your audience shouldn’t loudly laugh at the end either.  Both happened during this movie.

The villains in the film, much like the script for this, are flat, boring, and toothless. They weren’t scary or interesting in the slightest, even the one dude who was needlessly crazy. He felt more mildly inconvenient for the main characters than a source of constant danger. I felt no sense of danger and urgency while watching these guys interact. They seemed less like hardened criminals and more like random people who stumbled onto the set and cashed their check before anyone could notice what was going on. 

No beat, character, or moment in this is original. You can guess everywhere this film goes.  Within the first fifteen minutes of this film, you will know how it ends. I spent the rest of the film’s running time hoping that it gets there quickly or that maybe the power will go out in theater and you can go home and forget this movie.  Unfortunately for me, it didn’t and I had to endure this. 

Liam S. O'Connor