09 March 2010

Breaking In.

I wish John Sayles had written the character of Ernie Mullins (Burt Reynolds) as a homicidal geriatric, and the character of Mike Lafeve (Casey Siemaszko, whom I'm not very familiar with, but is actually the best part of the movie) as a crime-scene photographer. And they should have crossed paths, elected to go on a road trip, and then visited Coney Island.

I went searching for the Pauline Kael review of Breaking In my late 80's Kael review book, Hooked. It's not in there and I didn't search any further. What happened is I started reading Kael's review of Joe Dante's Innerspace, which luckily describes the exact same kind of film. Kael mentions that Dante goes out of his way to make Innerspace inoffensive. Do they still make films like that? I don't know, because essentially those films become films for kids, and I don't see as many kids films as I maybe (?) should.

I did watch Breaking In. I love Forsyth's Gregory's Girl and Local Hero, love them, and what's so charming and appealing about them is their ability to strip away the mechanics of their stories and expose the human innards. Essentially this is the execution of Breaking In, but the subjects of the film are a seasoned thief and a tire installer turned criminal protege. And that's film bullshit.

Film bullshit should be loud and obnoxious, overpowering, or not present at all. That's how honesty can be achieved. Film bullshit should be a pit bull. And in Breaking In, Forsyth and Sayles take the pit bull to the veterinarian, have its teeth and balls removed, and enter it into a dog show. The crime scenes are tedious, the friendship scenes are heavy-handed, and the characters' personalities are skin deep. It's not a film about criminals or people. Just some shit happens, you laugh three-to-six times, and then the credits roll. It's charming, but charming like sledding down a hill of melting snow, sighing at every patch of grass.

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