Anthony Minghella has made a habit of writing and directing artistic movies that concentrate on the redemption of the main character following a soul-searching quest, sometimes with magnificent results.
Unfortunately for him, more often than not, he opts for Jude Law to fill he boots of his principal character. Law, here playing landscape architect Will, fails to show any chemistry with the surrounding cast and there is little to suggest that any of the people in his life have any reason for being involved with him.
The story goes that Will is a landscape architect who, along with his partner Sandy (Freeman), has taken charge of an urban renewal scheme in the Kings Cross area of London - known for its high level of criminal activity. When their ultra-modern offices get hit by a group of burglars twice in one week, Will decides to take matters into his own hands to try and apprehend the culprits.
Aside from his work, Will is experiencing difficulty at home with his Swedish partner Liv (Wright Penn), mother of an insomniac autistic 13-year-old gymnast (Rogers), who is failing to deal with her daughter's condition and fears for her future with Will.
Will uses his vigilante mission as the prefect way to escape the reality of life at home. When he tracks the young felon (Gavron), responsible for both break-ins, to his home, he engages with the boy's mother (Binoche). Without revealing who he is, he forms a relationship with her that threatens the stability of all the people in his life.
Law fails to cash in on the dilemma in the mind of his character and it's hard to believe that he cares for anyone in his life. The link between his role as an architect trying to renew the life of the city and as a man trying to breathe new life into his love life should have made his character more interesting. Instead he seems to lack energy or interest in anything other than himself. The plot goes nowhere before coming to a dubious, unsatisfactory ending that ties up the loose ends all too conveniently.
Aside from Law there were some fine performances, particularly from Juliette Binoche. Martin Freeman and Ray Winstone also shine in their roles - Winstone plays police detective Sandy - and manage to brighten up events considerably when onscreen.
This is the third collaboration between Law and Minghella, the previous two being 'Cold Mountain' and 'The Talented Mr Ripley'. While the artistic ambition behind each has been impressive, they have failed to engross and entertain in a manner that highlights the message behind what we are witnessing. Whether the fault lies at the hands of director or the actor is debateable but the one certain conclusion is that they should take a break from each other for future productions.
'Breaking and Entering' amounts to a failed analysis of what drives the characters to break into other people's lives in order to escape the faults in their own.