Friday, January 28, 2022

Breaking / 892 - 2022 Sundance Movie Review

The Movie: Breaking aka 892

The Director: Abi Damaris Corbin

The Cast: John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva, Michael Kenneth Williams, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, Robb Derringer, Shannon Walsh, Jeffrey Donovan

The Story: A Marine war veteran faces mental and emotional challenges when he tries to reintegrate back into civilian life.

The Review:
I have been waiting for John Boyega to find a role that maximizes his crazy talents as an actor and it only took me a few minutes of watching this movie before I realized this is the one. Boyega, most known as Fin in the Star Wars universe although you should also see him in Attack the Block if you haven't already, puts on a master class playing Brian Easley, a down on his luck military veteran. The roller coaster of emotions that we see unravel over the course of the movie is heartbreaking and infuriating because the actor embodies all of it so vividly.

On the surface, this movie is a classic bank heist negotiator drama with Michael Kenneth Williams playing opposite Boyega although it's also a bold commentary on how our country treats veterans, how our country treats poverty, and how the system is as ineffective as it is corrupt. There's a lot to unpack there but director Abi Damaris Corbin handles all of it beautifully creating a balance between Mr. Easley's real life story and the people who were affected by the tragic events that played out. By the way, this is Corbin's first feature film as a director which makes this movie even more impressive because of how well put together everything looks and feels.

From the opening moments, there is a level of tension that intensifies, not because Easley is robbing a bank and holding hostages, but because you understand what got him to that point and how much danger he and the bank employees are in from the overly aggressive police and FBI presence surrounding the building. Along for the ride are Selenis Leyva and Nicole Beharie as the two bank employees and I was equally impressed with their work as I was with both Boyega and Williams, such a strong ensemble cast and one that might be up for awards when the time comes.

What's most disturbing about this story is that it's based on something that really happened to a real person. A real human being. To see how Mr. Easley was basically discarded and abandoned by a system he gave everything to is especially sad because it happens all the time. It's happening to people right now. Maybe this movie can bring some awareness to the issues at hand so we can look for solutions or even a bit of progress in the right direction. In the meantime, congratulations to everyone involved with making this movie such an amazing experience.

To keep track of all my Sundance reviews, interviews, and other festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at Sundance 2022.

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