- John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva
- Written by
- Abi Damaris Corbin and Kwame Kwei-Armah
- Directed by
- Abi Damaris Corbin
- Run Time
- 1h 43min
- Release Date
- August 26th, 2022
Raise your hand if you have heard the story of Brian Brown-Easley? It’s ok, I didn’t know him either and it’s understandable with the way news works these days, there is always something more important. Maybe though we should have listened to his story a little more closely, as he was trying to tell us something that as a country, the U.S. has greatly ignored.
Brian (John Boyega) is a former Marine who was discharged honorably, after being injured during a tour in Iraq. The war was not kind to him and as he is trying to provide for his ex-wife and his daughter but he runs into a problem at the V.A. and money that is owed to him is not available any longer. For Brian this is the line and he sets a plan in motion that he believes will get the attention that his problem needs. So Brian puts together a device and walks to a Wells Fargo to withdraw the last $25 he has in his account, but that is not the only reason he is there. He hands the teller named Rosa (Selenis Leyva) a note telling her he has a bomb. The manager Estel Valerie (Nicole Beharie) notices the fear in Rosa’s face and starts to tell people to leave. This though is not a normal situation and Brian lets everyone leave except Estel and Rosa, who he tells to call 911 to tell them what is going on. Brian is polite and assures the two women that he will not hurt them and that he will be the only one whose life ends this day. Things get off to a rough start as Brian can’t seem to get to talk to the person he wants to tell his story to. After failing to achieve that goal, Brian calls a news station to tell them what his demands are. He does not want the bank’s money, he wants the money the V.A. owes him, which amounts to $892. Eventually the police negotiator named Eli Bernard (Michael K Williams) calls, but is it too late to save Brian from his believed fate?
Written by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Abi Damaris Corbin, the latter also directing, the duo never allow Breaking to become a standard “based on true events” flick. They do this by injecting intrigue and tension to a story that some in the audience might already know. Although Breaking brings the tension, where it fails is in being a police procedural. It is the scenes in the bank with Boyega that make you feel something, as the presence of the police take away from the more interesting points of the story.
Breaking is an immersive and emotional journey of a desperate man that never wanted what wasn’t his. Boyega is the diamond in this piece as his performance has a dignity that really brings Brian’s story to life. He is able to convey all of the stress and the struggle that is weighing on Brian’s shoulders, as he knows each decision he makes could be his last. Although there is some pacing issues they never get in the way of the emotional ride this story will take you on. When it is all said and done you will have questions and you will more than likely be angry and you will for sure know the story of Brian Brown- Easley.