A sweet little character study that skirts between comedy and drama, Breaking In affords a nice character role for Burt Reynolds, who was beginning to fade as a superstar and transitioning into smaller, less notable films and projects than the massive blockbusters and vanity flops he was becoming known for.
A seasoned thief takes an unseasoned thief under his wing.
It’s kismet: Seasoned thief Ernie (Burt Reynolds with salt and pepper hair and a limp) is in the middle of robbing a house when another thief – a young guy named Mike (Casey Siemaszko) – is robbing it too. But there’s a big difference between these guys – Ernie is after safes and big cash scores, while Mike is just fooling around and stealing food from refrigerators for the thrill of it. Ernie takes a shine to Mike, despite how dumb he seems, and he takes the kid under his wing for a season of both of their lives. Over the course of maybe a year, Ernie trains Mike in the ways of safecracking and using nitroglycerin to pop a safe open without making a big mess, and while Ernie keeps a very low profile and socks away his cash, Mike for the first time in his life has money literally to burn and starts spending it like he has an unlimited supply. He buys a gaudy, flashy car, begins courting a call girl, and starts renting a penthouse apartment for five grand a month, and then loses his job for being too cocky and self-sure with his boss. None of this sits well with Ernie, who cuts Mike off which, in turn, propels Mike to start doing jobs on his own … and then getting caught by the authorities. What follows next is a unique set of developments for Ernie, who has never had a partner get caught before.
A sweet little character study that skirts between comedy and drama, Breaking In affords a nice character role for Burt Reynolds, who was beginning to fade as a superstar and transitioning into smaller, less notable films and projects than the massive blockbusters and vanity flops he was becoming known for. The movie works really well thanks to his understated efforts, and his chemistry with Siemaszko is really good. The script by John Sayles is knowing, wry, and clever, and the direction by Bill Forsyth is quite effective. A solid little gem in every respect.
Breakin In has just been released on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber in a new 2K master, and the transfer is excellent. There’s an audio commentary by Sayles, Forsyth and film historian Daniel Kremer. There’s also a trailer on the disc.