Breathe (2017)

When it comes to playing CGI characters, there's nobody like Andy Serkis. That is his kingdom and he has proven that many times over the years, especially in War for the Planet of the Apes. But when it comes to directing, he is not the guy. Maybe he doesn't have enough experience or he just doesn't have it, but Breathe, his directorial debut, is far from being a great achievement. 

The story is that of Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), a tea leaf distributor who falls for Diana (Claire Foy). They get married and travel to Kenya where Robin contracts polio. Diana, pregnant with their child, refuses to let him die and will help him become an advocate for the disabled.

People love inspirational movies, especially if based on true stories, so I guess that's the reason why Serkis picked this story to make his debut. Unfortunately, he told the story in such a sappy way that the film ends up being familiar and flat. 

The film focuses on Cavendish's decades-long battle with polio and his refusal to be limited by the disease. The problem is that it only shows Cavendish's triumphs. Serkis avoids almost completely his struggles, pain and suffering, which doesn't make the story feel very genuine and authentic. Instead of giving the film a more serious tone, Serkis opted for a humorous tone that doesn't really work here as there isn't a lot of drama to soften to begin with.

Breathe, however, does show how powerful love and human psyche can be. It shows that with determination, courage and persistence you can achieve a lot in life, no matter the adversities and odds. All this does though is making of Breathe just another inspirational movie that doesn't stand out from the others and fails to be emotional.

Bleecker Street, STXinternational
The acting, on the other hand, is pretty good. Andrew Garfield does a good job as Robin Cavendish although his facial expressions are a little contrite at times and don't always convey the feelings they are supposed to, and so does Claire Foy as Diana. But neither of their performances is that emotional.

There's nothing left for me to say other than two film came to my mind while I was watching this, The Theory of Everything and The Sea Inside. They are both telling stories of disabled men, but they both do a way better job in all the aspects, direction, script and acting.

10 comments :

  1. Ne parlerò a breve anch'io e per buona parte concordo. Forse per me mezzo punticino in più. Mi sono piaciuti sia Garfield che la Foy (che dovrà lavorare molto per togliersi l'etichetta di The Crown) ma la regia di Serkys é stata deludentissima: L'ho trovata piuttosto anonima, distante anni luce dal talento che ha saputo dimostrare con le sue performance cgi :(
    Ps: Buona Pasqua!

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  2. I never bothered with this. The previews made it look like it was trying to be The Theory of Everything and I knew that wasn't going to be the case.

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    1. Garfield fans did that too. They went as far as saying he deserved the Oscar for this.

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  3. I do like Andrew Garfield and Andy Serkis but I have no interest in seeing this as it looked liked another Oscar-bait movie.

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  4. Nice review. I similarly came away not exactly enthused by Serkis' directorial debut. Agreed that The Theory of Everything tackled this similar subject matter MUCH better.

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  5. Wow! You missed it totally with this review. I thought it was at least as good as "The Theory of Everything." The script was perfect, the acting was incredible. Every scene was excellent, and it's also a true story. I can't believe the way the critics trash this great movie. The reviewers at imdb.com got it right, giving it the very high praise it deserves. I've had to overcome a lot of injuries and hardships, and no way I'd like some of the "gross" details to be shown, as some critics have said. That's beside the point and the fact that he's almost always well-dressed and we don't see "everything" is irrelevant. The movie is a tremendous tale of love, family, and the value of friendships, and it's true. And the guy who invented the chair that allowed the man and then others to get out of bed is a saint, and he is portrayed as just a person trying to help his friend. In fact none of the people in the movie are portrayed as heroes, and yet some are.

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    1. I get what you are saying about the heroes in this film, but I disagree with the "gross" details part. For me, they had to show that too.

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