×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Breaking and Exiting’

A suicidal woman is rescued by the man robbing her house in this underdeveloped seriocomedy.

Director:
Peter Facinelli
With:
Milo Gibson, Jordan Hinson, Adam Huber, James Kyson, Justine Wachsberger, Lily Anne Harrison, Cecile Cubilo, Hermann Ludovick Pattein, Blake Purdy, John Hinson, Colin Ferguson, Joaquim de Almeida.
Release Date:
Aug 17, 2018

1 hour 18 minutes

Breaking and Exiting” is the first directorial feature for actor Peter Facinilli, and first produced screenplay for actor-turned-producer/star Jordan Hinson. One hopes it was a good learning experience for all, because from a viewer’s perspective, the results don’t provide much reward.

This wafer-thin seriocomedy, basically one long meet-cute between a burglar and a suicidal woman, feels padded even at just 78 minutes. Whatever the promise of that premise, very little happens in the way of narrative or character development, which leaves the film over-reliant on a central chemistry (Milo Gibson is Hinson’s co-lead) that isn’t really there.

Despite surface polish, this indie feels like a classroom exercise that checks off the basic technical and narrative-beat boxes needed to get a passing grade, yet never develops any real personality of its own or raison d’etre. Freestyle Digital Media launches the film in limited theatrical release simultaneous with VOD on Aug. 17.

Things start out unpromisingly with too much voiceover narration from Harry (Gibson, a ringer for dad Mel around the eyes), who offers the kind of fatuous wise generalities suggesting this movie will aim for greeting-card-level profundity. Harry informs us it’s all about “the kind of decisions that can change you — maybe forever!” … at which point we see him do a U-turn in his truck to reluctantly return to the house he’s just burgled.

There, he’s left behind Daisy (Hinson), whom he found in the bathtub (albeit, somewhat incongruously, clothed), waiting to die from a deliberate overdose of pills. She didn’t care that he was robbing her, and he pointed out she’d taken the wrong pills for her purpose — then helpfully selected the right ones from the medicine cabinet. But a guilty conscience makes him turn back, though she pointedly doesn’t want to be rescued. He then decides for vague reasons to stay until she’s awakened from a no-longer-fatal sleep.

This happens at about the half-hour point. Until then, we’ve rewound to glimpse Harry’s everyday life, which mostly involves getting stoned, ignoring soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend Lana (Justine Wachsberger), and looting absent rich people’s homes with cousin Chris (Adam Huber), who wants to quit and go legit. Harry is a snarky, rudderless man-boy jerk of no discernible depth, so it makes scant sense when he suddenly starts acting all sensitive and life-affirming around Daisy.

But then, she’s an even blanker slate: We do learn that she’s unhappy and recently abandoned by her fiance, but that’s it. Neither character’s backstory gets any detail, and beyond the occasional platitude, their interactions mostly stay on a trivial plane — “cute” arguments and kidding-around. They discover they have things in common, but from the audience’s p.o.v. that appears primarily a matter of both of them being purported adults who talk and think like whiny teenagers. We’re presumably supposed to find them quirky, charming and meant for each other. Try as they might, these actors can’t pull that off, not with this material.

That failing gradually palls the main hook, which from the outset isn’t as fresh as it hopes: Though seldom remembered now, James Kirkwood’s once-ubiquitous novel and stage play “P.S. Your Cat Is Dead” also milked seriocomedy from the bonding between a burglar and his despondent mark.

There is one late, genuine narrative twist, which is welcome even if it settles for being a gimmick that doesn’t meaningfully change the key dynamic. Before that finally arrives, Facinelli inadvertently underlines the script’s thinness by piling on cutesy montage sequences — watch the leads trying on clothes! making dinner! making love! — to pre-existing song tracks. It’s a device that rapidly starts looking like obvious filler when overused, as it is here.

Tech and design contributions are all competent, though if ever a movie needed the distinguishing stamp of some assertive stylistic elements, this is it. Closing credits are stretched out as slowly as possible, complete with a virtual scrapbook of behind-the-scenes photos — further suggesting that the usefulness of “Breaking and Exiting” may lay more in the realm of training than entertaining.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Breaking and Exiting'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, Aug. 14, 2018. Running time: 78 MIN.

Production: A Freestyle Digital Media release of a Freestyle Releasing presentation of a Kali Pictures production. Producers: Martine Melloul, Jordan Hinson, Cecile Cubilo. Executive producers: Andrew Van Den Houten, Melloul.

Crew: Director: Peter Facinelli. Screenplay: Jordan Hinson. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Christopher Hamilton. Editor: Vaughn Bien III. Music: Sacha Chaban.

With: Milo Gibson, Jordan Hinson, Adam Huber, James Kyson, Justine Wachsberger, Lily Anne Harrison, Cecile Cubilo, Hermann Ludovick Pattein, Blake Purdy, John Hinson, Colin Ferguson, Joaquim de Almeida.

More Film

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” out front, Chinese action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend, while the few American titles in play have failed to attract many moviegoers. Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from consultancy [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' Is Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at the Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the international feature film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content