Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, 2006)
I haven't liked an Anthony Minghella film in goodness knows how long. I agreed when critics dubbed "Truly, Madly, Deeply" (1991) as a far more intelligent alternative to "Ghost" (faint praise, considering, but there it is); I thought his "The English Patient" some five years later was one of the more passionate and less undeserving films to have won a Best Picture Oscar recently (let me put it this way--it actually seemed too good to win one of those golden doorstops). "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999) was stylish and amusing, only Matt Damon made for an unengaging Ripley, easily upstaged by the charming Jude Law; his "Cold Mountain" (2003) scraped bottom for me--Jude Law, so enjoyable in "Ripley," was lifeless in this, a Civil War drama set in a North Carolina that somehow manages not to look anything like the actual Carolinas (much of it was shot in Romania).
There's plenty to dislike in "Breaking and Entering," starting with the title--it's both literal (a gang of young thieves break into an architectural office) and metaphorical (people breaking into other people's lives, stealing a measure of comfort or pleasure, taking some kind of advantage from them). It's just the kind of sophisticated arthouse thesis viewers like to discuss over lattes afterwards (come to think of it, Minghella's always been the kind of refined filmmaker arthouse viewers love to patronize). The film is too civilized--it raises troubling questions, treats them with kid gloves, and at the ninety-minute mark wraps them all up in a neat and tidy package--well, not too neat and tidy; Minghella even adds frayed edges Martha-Stewart style to give the whole thing a comforting rustic feel.