“Brian Brown-Easley’s story pierced me through my soul”: Abi Damaris Corbin on Breaking
Breaking is the action-heist thriller telling the 2017 true-life story of Brian Brown-Easley, an ex-marine pushed to breaking point after his disability benefits cheques stopped abruptly. When efforts to get them reinstated fall on deaf ears, he takes matters into his own hands and holds up his local Wells Fargo bank. The role is given nuance and depth by a powerhouse performance from the UK’s John Boyega, tracing the subtle lines of an ultimately good-hearted individual driven to criminal acts by their circumstance, and pushing and pulling the audiences sympathies from moment to moment. Tropes of the genre are both utilised and played upon, Dog Day Afternoon being a point of reference, with the trappings of a classic heist movie falling away to reveal a complex character study, and the contrasts between the claustrophobia of the interior of the banks and the mayhem of the outside media and police circus outside provocatively drawn. A strong supporting cast further elevates the action, from Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva as the bank hostages, Connie Britton as the compassionate journalist and the late Michael K Williams in his final role as the police negotiator.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking writer-director Abi Damaris Corbin about how she came across the true-life story, the process of adapting it for the screen with Kwame Kwei-Armah from an article by Aaron Gell and how she cast and was able to elicit such a barnstorming performance from Boyega. We also discussed how the film can shine a light on iniquity in the criminal justice system in the US and the treatment of veterans.
Breaking is released digitally on demand on 27th March 2023. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for Breaking here: