Breaking In

Gabrielle Union is forced to fight for her life and her children after four men break into her father’s fortress to steal stuff. Mostly from other films.

That means no refunds.

Chief among these sources of unspiration is Panic Room, but this home invasion thriller is a far cry from David Fincher’s watertight execution. James McTeigue’s (V for Vendetta) directing is so slow and sluggish they should have called it Xanax Room, while Ryan Engle’s (The Commuter) script aims for the giddy heights of making a female-led Liam Neeson movie and unfortunately succeeds.

The merits of featuring a capable black heroine are immediately cancelled out by the ugly stereotype of the Hispanic attacker (Richard Cabral). Ugliness pervades the film in general, shot with the kind of dingy filter that makes you want to reach for a light switch or the off switch, whichever’s closer.

How can these professional criminals be outmanoeuvred by an ordinary person? Why doesn’t she just hand over the money? What kind of security system waits 90 minutes before alerting the police? Oh right. One in a film. The whole thing is as unconvincing and nonsensical as a Trump tweet. “Mum’s don’t run,” says one of the attackers, apparently having never seen Paula Radcliffe or the race to the front of a Coldplay concert.

Union is actually ordering a pizza over the phone when she’s first attacked, by someone who looks weirdly like James McAvoy in Split. He knocks the phone out of her hand and rather than scream for help, she attempts to reach the phone. What’s she planning to say? “Hello, me again. I’m being attacked. And can I get extra cheese on that?”

Ineptly directed, written and acted, this is one seriously boring home invasion on a par with Ed Sheeran gatecrashing a dinner party.

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