Breaking In - Burt Reynolds Begins to Reclaim His Career
Written: Mar 12, 2010 (Updated Mar 12, 2010)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:acting by Reynolds and Siemaszko, nice story, good comedic moments
Cons:not a con for me, but for some, the ending
The Bottom Line: A buddy film that's not as formulaic as others produced by Hollywood. For me, that's a good thing.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
In Breaking In, Burt Reynolds stars as Ernie, an aging burglar who is beginning to think it's time to retire. While burglarizing a home, he runs into Mike (portrayed by Case Siemaszko) who's there for the same purpose. Mike is a bit rough around the edges and doesn't have the same professional techniques Ernie employs.
For some reason, Ernie takes a liking to Mike and begins to teach him what he knows. The two share a decent chemistry on the screen as the bond between them grows throughout the film. Mike is at the same time eager to learn from the more professional Ernie, but also a bit of a screw-up, always trying to prove he has what it takes and faltering.
In the end, all Ernie wants is one more big score before retiring, and he brings Ernie in on the job despite misgivings about the young man's abilities.
I think the reason I liked this so much has much to do with the story by John Sayles, whose filmmaking and writing style are a favorite of mine. Although not directed by him (the Director is Bill Forsyth), it still has enough of his flavor in the script that fans of his can appreciate it.
In addition, there are some terrific performances here. Reynolds is quite good as Ernie, reigning in the acerbic wit a bit and giving the character enough gravity that he seems real. Ernie is tired of living the life he has, essentially in isolation, which is what draws him to Mike in the first place. When discussing love with the younger man, it's apparent he sees isolation and a general lack of attachments as the only way to go.
Mike is the polar opposite, wanting to show off his score as much as possible, and that includes hooking up with a girl who's not just looking for money on the table after one night. It's a completely different philosophy and one that will likely not work. What's great is that this is shown throughout the film, rather than having to have long conversations that are more like Ernie giving Mike a lecture on being a criminal. Ernie will let Mike go to make his own mistakes, although he's like Mike to pick up some knowledge.
Siemaszko does a surprisingly good job here as Mike, opposite Reynolds. Most of his roles have been supporting parts opposite other young actors who are more the marquee names. This role proves he can hold his own opposite a substantial actor. The two don't exactly come off as the father-and-son buddy types, but their bond is sufficient for the film.
The comedy here comes in a subtle form as well, such as what results from the break-ins when things don't go exactly as plan, plus on occasion their choice of targets making the situation more humorous. It works not as a film that's going to have the viewer rolling with laughter, but more of a warm comedy that works well as its delivering the story.
There's no real moment where the film takes off and ends on the typical heartwarming Hollywood note. For some, that's fine. Others will miss a story with significant closure. I prefer this way than the way I could have seen Breaking In ending had there been mroe interference from the studio.
If you're looking to see some of the great work Burt Reynolds has done in his career, this movie is a hidden gem you likely haven't seen. He's made some good moves since this film, but prior to this his career was mostly known for Smokey and the Bandit and Deliverance. Breaking In really brings him back from some of the lesser roles he'd taken over the years and provides a stepping-off point for what would be the resurrection of his career.
© 2010 Patti Aliventi
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