Love is no ordinary crime.
The atmospheric and erotically charged Breaking and Entering reunites director Anthony Minghella with Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain) and the haunting Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, for which she and Minghella won Academy Awards). Law fully invests himself as pre-occupied landscape architect Will Francis, who with his partner (Martin Freeman from the original British version of The Office), is heading a gentrification project in London's seedy, crime-plagued King's Cross neighborhood. At home, he and Liv (Robin Penn Wright), his morose Swedish-American girlfriend of 10 years, are increasingly estranged over the demands of his job and of caring for Liv's autistic daughter, a 13-year-old aspiring gymnast. Will, hiding his identity, begins an affair with Amira (Binoche), the mother of a youth who has twice ransacked Will's office. Amira is a Bosnian refugee with a fierce survival streak that is not above blackmail when she learns who Will is. This is Minghella's first original screenplay since his little-known romantic gem Truly Madly Deeply. The dialogue has Woody Allen pretensions: A cleaning woman who comes under suspicion for the break-ins invokes Kafka. A prostitute (Vera Farmiga giving the film's liveliest performance) has a philosophical bent. Will himself ham-handedly explains how he much prefers metaphors to straightforward communication (he'd love this film's title). An art-house film with an A-list cast and wrenching performances, Breaking and Entering couldn't get arrested in theatres, but it is a fine addition to Crash and other liberal-minded "them and us" dramas. --Donald Liebenson