Film: Don’t Breathe
Director: Fede Alvarez
Writer: Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues
Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette
This film begins with a man walking down a street, dragging a woman by her hair. We see them from above and it makes it tough to make out who either of them are. This image will be revisited later as we figure out what is going on.
We then shift to someone entering a door and an alarm tries to trigger. Before it goes off someone steps in front of it to disarm it with the code. We have three young people who are stealing. There is a woman, played by Jane Levy. Her boyfriend is a jerk played by Daniel Zovatto. There is another guy as well played by Dylan Minnette.
Later in the car we learn Levy and Zovatto are saving up to move to California. Minnette has a crush on Levy, but can’t leave his father behind. We see him looking longingly at Levy.
Zovatto then meets with a man in a van who tells him about a score. This group doesn’t steal money, because the amount of time behind bars for doing it is much greater. The man they are supposed to rob won a settlement. It is supposed to be a million dollars. Minnette states he is not going to be a part of it and goes home.
We see that Levy has a rough home life, where her mother sees a trashy guy who is moving in. He is only supposed to be until he can find work, but you get the feeling this isn’t the case. Levy has a younger sister that she wants to take with her. Minnette looks more into the job and decides to help out. He also changes his mind about following Levy to California as well.
They canvass the house and it is in a bad neighborhood. There is a bunch of abandoned buildings around it for blocks. The backdoor has multiple locks on it and they have a remote that will turn off the alarm system. There is a dog and they give it a drug to put it to sleep. They do realize they do not have all the keys needed to get into the backdoor. There is a door to into the basement, but it is locked from the inside. Levy sees a window and that is small, she thinks that she can get through it. She breaks the window and climbs through.
She unlocks the door and they take their shoes off. They have to be quiet as to not wake the man up. They search the first level, but do not find the money. Zovatto goes upstairs where they look and he ends up in the room for the blind man, he is played by Stephen Lang. He makes a makeshift dispenser from a pop bottle that makes a fog to keep Lang from waking up again. He did get up when Zovatto entered at first and turned his television off. The man no longer has any family, but did have a daughter who died.
They decide that the money has to be in basement. Zovatto is talking loudly and tries to use a crowbar to get the door open. There is a deadbolt and padlock on it. He is told to be quiet, but he thinks the drug will keep the blind man asleep. He then pulls out a gun out and uses another pop bottle as a silencer. He then gets the lock off. Minnette leaves, stating they are going to get caught and he doesn’t want that.
Lang appears in the room and asks who is there. Zovatto decides to hold him at gun point. He tells him that he is drunk and stumbled into the house, he will leave. Lang gets close to him and steals the gun from Zovatto. He then shoots him in the face, killing him in front of Levy.
The man then locks up his house again while Levy is still in there. She hides in the closet when Lang checks the safe, which is behind a fake wall. Minnette gets back into the house and tries to get them out. Lang is hiding something in his basement, his revenge for what happened to his daughter.
Can they get out before it is too late? Can they get the money? Or will Lang protect what is his and punish them for getting in?
I have to say that this is a film that I had high expectations for and it definitely lived up to. The first thing I wanted to talk about that I really liked the story to this one. The build up is good. I liked that we have these kids from a lower income area that steal items to sell so they can have money. It is a bad thing to do so we should hate them, but they are robbing from the rich, so they are similar to Robin Hood. I didn’t like Zovatto, as he is a jerk, but I really felt bad for Minnette. I wanted him to get Levy, but being from where she likes a guy that is a jerk. Lang is also an interesting character. You feel bad for him in that he’s daughter is dead and he is trying to get his revenge in his own way. The way that he is going about it is horrible though. We have two sides that are both negative and positive, so there is a duality. It makes you decide morally what side is less bad. This film is great in that it made me anxious, them trying to keep away from Lang and trying to find a way out. Lang’s hearing has gotten much better since he lost his vision and he is former military so he has some precision despite his handicap. It is especially great in the basement where it is dark and the two lose their advantage.
The issue that I had with this film is that the characters make some bad decisions. I will say that watching it, I could see how they could make the mistakes, because we make bad decisions when stressed. There were times I felt they could have gotten away, but missed their chance. There are some convenient things that happen as well that bother me at times. Being a film I do expect it so I can’t hold it against the film too much. An example is they run upstairs and they act like they can’t get out of a window, but then minutes later someone falls through it. If that was the case, why not just jump through it. If I was panicked, I feel like that would be a definitely option. This doesn’t ruin the film, but it frustrated me a bit.
Now with that said though, I would recommend this film. I feel like it has an interesting story that is good. It does get frustrating at times and it does build the tension of the film by ramping up the anxiety. The acting I felt was good. This would be a terrifying situation to be in, but it is hard to root for either side since they both have good and bad qualities to them. This film has a low running time and jumps right into it. I feel that this film is definitely worth a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10