Overlooked FILM on DVD: Choke and Breaking and Entering

Choke

Choke is very funny, bizarre, outrageous at times and just completely unique. Victor, a well-meaning, yet selfish sex addict [Sam Rockwell, always good] scams people in restaurants by pretending to choke. A devoted son, despite a childhood that sent him from foster home to foster home, is doing this to keep his mom [Angelica Houston– who has never looked more beautiful in flashbacks], who suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s, in a nice nursing home. The plot has crazy twists with a doctor who is actually a patient and has a plan to get Victor to impregnate her to use the embryo to “cure” his mother and “return” her to normal. The film is fast paced, funny and really a great film to see.

Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering lyrically addresses the intertwining lives of people in London who might normally never interact-landscape architect, a Bosnian immigrant, a cleaning lady, a prostitute, a rebellious teenager. It is the meshing of those that live in posh areas of North London and those that live in the notoriously “dicey” area of King’s Cross that makes for this provocative and insightful portrait.

Will [Jude Law] is a partner in a landscape architect firm located in King’s. While his professional life is booming, his personal life is withering. When his firm suffers mysterious series of break-ins, Will decides to investigate it. This causes his long-term relationship with his Swedish girlfriend Liv [Robin Wright] and their autistic daughter to suffer and the emotional chasm between them grows as does the couple’s inability to communicate.

After a break-in, Will follows one of the thieves home and becomes intrigued by the teenager’s mother, Amira [Juliette Binoche]. Their lives become entangled and deception lingers amidst the passion. Breaking and Entering focuses on the effect a crime has on someone personally whether to destroy or to mend. Anthony Minghella uses the break-in as a tipping point for tearing down metaphoric walls and for shattering preconceived notions about people.

This is Law’s best role to date. He simultaneously exudes compassion and self-doubt. Binoche is brilliant in showcasing the nuanced difficulties of being an immigrant. Through simply a look or mannerism, Wright Penn silently screams disconnected woman so remarkably. Once again, Minghella has written a lovely and compelling film.

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