BREAKING AND ENTERING (Anthony Minghella). 120 minutes. Opens Friday (February 16). For venues and times, see Movies, page 78. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
After his grand period films, Anthony Minghella returns to the present, bringing an assortment of his favourite actors along for the ride: Juliet Stevenson from Truly Madly Deeply, Juliette Binoche from The English Patient, Jude Law from The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ray Winstone from Cold Mountain.
Law stars as an architect involved in renovating the King's Cross neighbourhood in London, but his offices keep getting broken into and his equipment stolen. When he spots the burglar and follows him, he becomes entangled with the boy's mother (Binoche), even though he has his own troubled relationship with his live-in girlfriend ( Robin Wright Penn ) and her hyperactively peculiar daughter.
What makes Minghella's films so enjoyable -- beyond the performances he gets from high-powered movie stars and the gorgeous look of his films -- is his easy embrace of complexity. He recognizes that life gets very complicated and lets his stories convey that.
He's also an urban filmmaker, and so understands that almost anything can happen at any time without requiring an explanation. He doesn't need to tell us why the Russian hooker shows up out of nowhere -- it's the city, there she is.
I like Breaking And Entering up to the last 10 minutes, when after painting himself into an interesting corner, Minghella takes the easy -- and least probable -- way out.