October 6, 2022

This assessment was a part of our protection of the 2022 Sundance Movie Competition, the place the movie premiered beneath the title 892. It has been up to date for its theatrical launch.

The Pitch: On July 17, 2017, former Marine lance corporal Brian Brown-Easley (John Boyega) walked right into a Wells Fargo financial institution department within the Atlanta suburbs, with a gray sweatshirt and backpack, and handed the teller a easy observe with 4 phrases: I’ve a bomb. Quickly, he’s taken hostages, with police negotiators and a confused media scrambling to defuse the state of affairs. His calls for? A measly $892 in incapacity funds denied to him by the Division of Veterans Affairs.

These are the circumstances reconstructed in Abi Damaris Corbin’s Breaking, a well-intentioned and infrequently hanging thriller that charts the heartbreaking moments of a determined man’s final gasps at visibility and relevance.

Attica! The hostage-crisis thriller is a well-known chestnut: from Canine Day Afternoon to John Q. and others, we all know the standard beats. There’s the sympathetic however unstable protagonist, the unsure rapport he builds along with his hostages, the fearful relations ready with bated breath for solutions. Corbin’s recreation of Brown-Easley’s harrowing day hardly ever strays from these formulation.

However what grace notes do seem come courtesy of the performances, notably Boyega’s Easley, imbuing his topic with a saint’s endurance leavened by righteous indignation. Within the movie’s opening minutes, we see glimpses of the circumstances that can lead him to his fateful resolution — speaking along with his younger daughter Kiah (London Covington) over the telephone about what she’ll identify her canine as he walks to his $25-a-night lodge, hoping to get one final phrase in earlier than his minutes run out. He’s a great, form man, or needs to be, however one too many layers of dignity have been stripped from him.

That Brian’s state of affairs had gotten so dire that he’d take such reckless, drastic measures to safe a measly $900 for his household, speaks to the yawning chasm on the core of America’s therapy of its veterans, particularly poor and Black ones. Boyega, taking on for Jonathan Majors (who needed to drop out resulting from Marvel scheduling conflicts), fills Brian with a deeply sympathetic poise, cracking solely when nudged only a bit too far by a delayed deadline right here, a patronizing query there.

Breaking (Bleecker Avenue Media)

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