Monday 29 August 2016

Don't Breathe ... Non-stop action

DON'T Breathe is the best break-in film I've seen this year. The plot is tight, the setting is filled with
tension, the motives are blurred and ambiguous, the editing and music are in tune, and there's a twist that will make you wonder if you can ever look at your neighbour in the same way again.
  At the heart of the film is whether the burglars or the home owner have the right to draw guns on the other party. This question will give viewers something to chew on.

   I found the film intriguing, enthralling and was on the edge of my seat.Viewers will empathise with the young and good-looking white burglars, who want one big final score before they flee their depressing lives in economically-depressed and bankrupt Detroit, Michigan.
    But what about the intended victim, a US veteran who was blinded in the first Iraq war? He lives alone with a vicious dog in the only house still standing in a run-down area. The burglars target him because they think he's keeping the $300,000 he received for a settlement in the vehicular death of his daughter.
   A theme of this film is that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover. The burglars make a big mistake thinking that their target will not pose a threat to them, but all hell breaks loose when the blind man (Stephen Lang, who played Col Miles Quaritch inAvatar) wakes up from his slumber and turns the tables on them.
Dylan Minnette and Stephen Lang cross paths
in 'Don't Breathe'.
     Writer and co-director Fede Alvarez made the right choice in selecting Lang, who despite his character being handicapped, is physically imposing and muscular.
    The film gives him home court advantage, and he uses that knowledge to play games with his prey.
   The burglars comprise baby face Alex (Dylan Minnette of Goosebumps), who encourages his partners in crime to steal items below a certain amount, roguish Money (Daniel Zovatto) and his tiny but spunky girlfriend Rocky (Jane Levy).
   Alex takes advantage of his dad working for a home security firm to break into homes with the other two, but there's no information about how the three got together. It's hard to imagine the three of them hanging out together. Alex has a soft spot for Rocky, who sports many tattoos and lives in a trailer with her mum and sister, but who yearns for California's beaches.
     Alex is angry with Money for taking a gun to the final break-in because, he says, this gives the home owner the right to fatally shoot them.
    What ensues is a rush of adrenaline as the burglars, whom viewers are encouraged to empathise
(From left) Jane Levy, Minnette and Daniel Zovatto think
they're in for an easy ride.
with, have to be on their toes to navigate through the strange home. The home owner may be blind but he's on a warpath and nothing's going to stop him from taking it out on the burglars.
   Alvarez shows great panache in showing the non-stop action unfolding in one place. The cellar scene is particularly noteworthy because of the danger permeating the area.
   Viewers are torn between supporting the burglars, whom they know are doing something illegal, and the rampaging blind man, whom they know has a right to shoot the burglars but who doesn't totally elicit their sympathies.
3½ out of 5 stars


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