– At Your Discretion – PG-13, Thriller
I do not know why, but going in I hadn’t looked at the rating; I assumed from the trailer this was, most likely, a rated R film. Oh boy, was I ever wrong. The moment I knew everything was about to dive south was one in which our main villain uses the word “frickin” in a sentence… angrily and in all seriousness. But is it as bad as everyone else thinks?
Gabrielle Union stars as Shaun Russel, who must pack up her kids and travel to her recently deceased father’s vacation home for the weekend and prepare for an estate sale. However, the trip doesn’t go as planned when a group of criminals, led by Billy Burke, break into the home in search of a safe. If you’re looking for a plot-driven film, you won’t find one here; the plot is about as thin as I’ve described it. Shaun and her kids are likable characters and audiences can easily root for them, but they seem to lack depth and any real development.
Director, James McTeigue, excels with providing spatial awareness to the audience; a challenge many other directors wish to overcome, especially thrillers. Even the camera work looks clean and the edits are cut smoothly, making for decent transitions in between scenes. Unfortunately, Breaking In fails to deliver any thrills, even with the setting providing numerous opportunities for tension and scares: Shaun’s old home is decked-out with high tech cameras, alarm systems, retractable shades, and impenetrable glass. We don’t spend a great deal of time outside of the home, however, lending large sums of time to get acquainted with the environment.
The trailers made it seem as if our main heroine was pushed to ruthlessness. But the movie doesn’t quite get to that place. I wanted to see her in full-protection mode, and instead she takes half measures. Shaun will devise a plan and abandon it half-way through because the criminals outsmarted her. Instead of writing an intelligible female lead, the writer (male, mind you) chose to write her in a manner that puts her male counterparts two steps ahead at all times; she’s never in control of the situation and never gets that one, stand-out moment that defines her character.
Now, I didn’t have the biggest expectations from this flick. I just wanted an above average, popcorn-revenge flick. What I got was an average, run-of-the-mill “thriller” with an underused cast. I knocked my score down because of the discussion Riley and I had on the way home from the theatre about how paper-thin the final product actually was. If you want to see both of us in our more in-depth conversation about this movie, check out the video review on our YouTube channel. Either save your money or attend a matinee. Instead, take your mother to see Tully this Mother’s Day weekend.