This combination of thriller and drama based on true events was announced and premiered at Sundance as a modern variation on the theme of Lumet’s cult “Dog Afternoon”. And in “Breaking” we have a desperate anti-hero who breaks into a bank branch and creates a hostage crisis, and Navy veteran Brian Brown-Easly (John Boyega) does this to draw attention to his case, believing that he will get a chance and media space to present it. your side of the story. And the side of the story of this tormented and embittered guy is really terrible and this modern anti-hero is a true example of a victim of the system, of that creepy bureaucracy that previously made him homeless.
After returning from missions in Iraq, this man suffered from PTSD and was unable to work for some time. His family also fell apart, he ended up on the street, and he will be pushed over the edge by the fact that he was foreclosed on $892 in veteran’s benefits, which should not have happened. The film, which according to a newspaper article from 2018 was written and then directed by Abi Damaris Corvin, was screened at Sundance under the name “892”, but in the meantime it was changed to “Breaking”, and was awarded there for the cast. And the strongest asset of this film is the good Boyega as a desperate and helpless man ready to risk his life by breaking into a bank with an explosive device to demand that the veterans’ department return his $892.
And although he became a terrorist by his act, Damaris Corbin made a film in which we understand that he is not only a victim at the same time, but that Brian is actually a good, honest and just man who, with this desperate move, wanted to draw attention to his problem, but also a problem that many before and after him probably faced. It is clear to us that Brian is a guy who does not want to endanger the lives of the bank employees he took hostage (Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva) and a police negotiator, a former marine himself (the last role of Michael Kenneth Williams or Omar Little from “The Wire”) understands his position and will try to do everything to resolve the crisis peacefully.
It is clear that the situation will become more and more tense from moment to moment because as soon as Brian breaks into the bank branch in Atlanta, the field will be surrounded by strong police forces, armored vehicles and snipers who can’t wait to take down the black terrorist. The intention of the film was clear, i.e. the social dimension and the depiction of the gruesome injustice of a system that does not care about the individual in which a person is usually just a number. And Brian is not the only one who had a similar fate, serving the state that would later get rid of him like worn out socks, but as time passed, “Breaking” became overly moralizing, even pathetic, overemphasized, which got on my nerves a little.