A middling yet effective psycho-thriller.
by Nav Qateel
Bianca, a heavily-pregnant woman with a history of mental illness, begins seeing the ghostly figure of a strange girl. She’s unsure if it’s her illness recurring, but Bianca soon sees the young woman, Sara, on the news in a missing person report. Her husband Ian thinks Bianca is imagining things, due to being stressed at the thought of another miscarriage. However, when the apparition continues appearing, then threatens to kill her unborn baby, Bianca is forced to find out what Sara wants from her and why she’s being targeted by the ghost.
Predrag Antonijevic’s Breaking at the Edge is a loose remake of the popular short film from 2005 by Jake Kennedy, We all Fall Down (watch the trailer here) The screenplay was written by Nissar Modi who has also just penned Z for Zachariah, the hotly anticipated sci-fi film to be directed by Craig Zobel, starring Chris Pine and 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor (a name that gives my spellchecker nighmares), which is due for release in 2015.
The sultry Brazilian Rebecca Da Costa plays Bianca, the pregnant wife of Ian (Milo Ventimiglia). The actress is building up a steady list of credits and most recently worked with John Cusack on The Bag Man, another low-budget movie that didn’t do particularly well, but one I enjoyed none-the-less. While Da Costa is certainly improving and growing as an actress, when certain scenes called for a more subtle delivery, Antonijevic couldn’t quite coax the needed nuanced performance from his leading lady. I in no way doubt Da Costa’s dedication but a more experienced and able director may have helped the actress hit those notes more evenly.
Milo Ventimiglia plays Bianca’s loving husband Ian, but is he perhaps a little too perfect? Ian and his elder brother Zach (Johnathon Schaech, The Legend of Hercules) appear to have had a very bad childhood, however, we never learn why the brothers hate to talk about their parents so much.
Ventimiglia is, in my opinion, a truly brilliant but underestimated actor who has given some truly wonderful performances in his varied career. For me, his performance as Josh in The Divide was a glimpse at just how talented Ventimiglia truly is. He breezed through this film and even when he was called to switch into a higher gear towards the end, he barely worked up a sweat, making it all look so easy, while his co-star had to really work hard. Of course, this is an unfair comparison as Ventimiglia has acting chops to spare, while the lovely Rebecca Da Costa is still learning the ropes.
The Oscar-winning Louis Gossett Jr. had a couple of short scenes as did Andie MacDowell, both of whom were great to see, even if their parts were small. Director Antonijevic has had a patchy directorial career and while Breaking at the Edge won’t be winning any awards for the filmmaker, it certainly feels like his best film to date. He’s hit his marks fairly well and succeeded in building a nice bit of tension when it was called for.
Breaking at the Edge is a middling yet effective psycho-thriller that, despite being hobbled by a few questionable plot details, kept me fully immersed and entertained during its entire runtime. The pacing also felt just right, thanks in part to Devin Maurer’s editing, leading to a not completely transparent finale, but one that certainly had enough punch to keep an audience satisfied. Unfortunately, it’s not a film you’ll even remember.