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May 30, 2007

Breaking and Entering - 7

Film often uses metaphor to tell a story, to make a point, to say something about the human condition. Here, writer and director Anthony Minghella uses an intriguing comparison between stealing and lying in public life and in one's private life. Landscape architect Will (Jude Law) and his wife Liv (Robin Wright Penn) have become distant because of the needs of Liv's eccentric and compulsive daughter Bea. The parallel story is of Amira (Juliette Binoche), a Bosnian immigrant, and her 15-year-old son, Miro (Rafi Gavron), who has gotten caught up in a theft ring stealing computer equipment from corporate offices. Miro ends up breaking into Will's office a couple of times which leads to Will's staking out his office and eventually following Miro to his apartment. In what seems like an act of compassion he doesn't turn Miro in, but ends up starting an affair with Amira. The entanglement of this relationship leads to some intriguing consequences, which force the characters to confront their lying, stealing, and cheating. Since Miro's thieving is a public matter, while Will's is private, it makes for an interesting dilemma about how confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation happens in these very different contexts. While the ending made me uncomfortable, it asks- rather than forces, an answer to these big questions.
The plot sustains the film, but it is the character development and the intelligent dialogue that really make the film. Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Office) as Will's colleague and friend, and Vera Farmiga (The Departed) as a friend of Amira, play supporting roles.

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