Breaking, directed and co-written by Abi Damaris Corbin, tells the story of Brian Brown-Easley (John Boyega), a veteran who takes two bank employees hostage after a confrontation with the VA. 

The highlight of Breaking is the brilliant performance by John Boyega, who deserves some awards consideration. Boyega disappears into the role and infuses Brian with equal parts desperation and courtesy. The story rests on the lead performance, as the film wouldn’t work without the tension, unpredictability, and sympathy that Boyega infuses in this character. 

There are some issues with the story. There are a few repeated beats, some aspects about Brian that this film needlessly proves about the character more than once, and there’s some lack of clarity in terms of this character’s conflict with the VA. A flashback sequence could have been extended, and a news producer’s (Connie Britton) investigation about why he is in the situation in the first place could have been expanded, creating compelling, tense drama. 

Breaking’s political statement – that the US should take better care of its veterans – may be one of the few issues to unite the country’s divided politics, and in that way, Breaking is a vital, important, universal film. 

3.5 out of 5 stars.