The new John Boyega film “Breaking” will break your heart.
Based on a true story, the 103-minute film tells the story of a young Marine, Brian Brown-Easley, down on his luck due to bureaucratic red tape.
Now separated from his wife, Brown-Easley lives in a rundown apartment complex. He’s struggling to support himself, while juggling opportunities to see his daughter. After learning he doesn’t have access to VA disability funds, Brown-Easley decides that enough is enough and looks to take back what is owed with a very alarming plan of action.
Brown-Easley visits the Marietta, Georgia, Wells Fargo and, as strange as it seems, takes two senior clerks hostage in the most sensitive and calm way. He lets the customers plus other staff leave before asking the remaining ladies — Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva (who play Estel Valerie and Rosa Diaz, respectively) — to lock the main doors.
Boyega’s acting is superb and, throughout the hostage situation, even when he explains he has a bomb there is such an apologetic slant to his demeanor that makes you understand and sympathize with his reasoning.
Boyega portrays this role with such range, there are humorous moments and others that are uncomfortable because they’re so disturbing. It’s very similar to how another great actor, Denzel Washington, would’ve played this out.
Diaz and Valerie do everything that Brown-Easley asks, including calling the police to let them know that he is willing to blow up the bank if his demand to be paid his disability money is not met.
This movie really runs well with minimal settings and few players involved. Connie Britton plays Lisa Larson, a journalist who takes a call from Brown-Easley. The conversation makes you wonder why this isn’t being held by the negotiator.
Michael Kenneth Williams (in his last role before he died) plays Eli Bernard, a hostage negotiator who reaches the scene. He is frustrated for Brown-Easley and understands, as a veteran, how the system can be unfair. He is seemingly able to get Brown-Easley to listen and explain the demands and the reason behind them.
The movie is a difficult look at the mistreatment of veterans. Boyega truly brings heart and emotion to the role, as we feel his yearning to make his daughter happy and provide for her future.
“Breaking,” rated PG-13 for violence and strong language, opens in theaters Friday, August 26.