In a world of blockbusters that often just lug and lumber about due to it’s sheer size and adherence to bombast, Fede Alvarez’ Don’t Breathe is a breath of fresh air.
As Tuco Salamanca on Breaking Bad would say, this movie is “tight, tight, tight!” It is well-edited and well-paced with a sleek running time of 88 minutes. It goes to show, you don’t always need a huge budget or A-list stars to entertain and get an audience’s attention.
The movie is about three kids living in Detroit. They’ve resorted to petty thievery to hopefully make enough to get them out of their dead end worlds and pursue their dreams elsewhere. There must be something about Detroit—the decay of the city figured as well in that lovely Jim Jarmusch film with Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive.
The three kids—Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) decide to do one final big heist. We all know how that one last heist—assignment or dangerous mission—goes down in the movies, right?
They plan to hit the house of a blind army veteran (Stephen Lang)—they’re certain he’s sitting on a pot of gold. The interesting thing about this film is that based on this premise, we’re all ready to sympathize with the blind army veteran and hope the kids get taught a lesson. Yet, Fede has written some morally ambiguous characters.
No one here is really completely a victim or a villain—the blind man has some secrets of his own, Alex is genuinely conflicted and is secretly in love with Rocky. You think you know who to root for, but that gets turned around.
Aside from the great pace, all four members of the main cast turn in great performances. I like to refer to Jane Levy as Thief Witherspoon, she bares a bit of a resemblance to Reese and does have the acting chops. She’ll be in the new version of the TV classic Twin Peaks next year.
Stephen Lang is an actor you’ve probably seen before, he often plays someone from the police or military—his most famous role is that of Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar. He’s incredibly talented and has quite a career as a stage actor as well. Dylan Minette has been acting for more than half of his young life (he’s only 20) and Daniel Zovatto can currently be seen on Fear The Walking Dead.
Budapest, Hungary and the set they built in that city doubled as the blind man’s Detroit Home—the design and the sources of light also being crucial to the story.
Don’t Breathe has sneak previews next week on the 22nd and 23rd and opens on August 31st.