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‘Breathe’ review: Incredibly strong cast cannot save sci-fi thriller

The main villain is the writing.

Breathe is a sci-fi action movie that relies on casting to carry its familiar premise. Starring Academy Award winning Jennifer Hudson, Milla Jovovich from the Resident Evil movie franchise, and Avatar’s Sam Worthington, the movie takes place in a future where Earth’s surface is left uninhabitable due to a lack of oxygen. A mysterious couple arrives claiming to know the fate of Maya’s (Hudson) husband Darius. It turns out that the pair are who not who they claim to be leading to a fight for survival.

Hollywood has spent decades using stars to draw audiences to stories that have been told before. Sure you have seen post-apocalyptic films before, but have you seen one with one of only nineteen people to win the EGOT who is also starring in her first action movie, a franchise icon, and the star of one of the highest grossing movies of all time? Breathe may not do anything different plot wise, but it has acting credentials to back it up. The question becomes, is it enough?

Sadly, the answer is no. Breathe alternates between hostage thriller and poor attempts at character development. The lack of a steady tone prevents anything from ever coming together. Despite its strong cast, the film can be incredibly dull. It is not that the movie does not know what it wants to be; it often seems like it just does not care.

The main culprit is the poor writing. It is easy to accept Earth is still and lifeless: there is no oxygen, after all. It is even easy to forgive all the great tech Darius has managed to make due to…reasons. Why the planet looks like it has gone through a world war is another matter. Breathe is filled with inconsistencies that eventually become too distracting. 

Breathe is out now on VOD and in theaters.

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