“Breaking” the Box Office



Zoe Law, Opinion and Entertainment writer

“Breaking,” a 2022 thriller and drama directed by Abi Damaris Corbin, brings awareness to the struggles of veterans getting out of the service and the importance of them getting proper support from the Veterans Association (VA).

This tragic film is based on the true story of a bank held hostage in Georgia in 2017 by a former homeless Marine, Brian Brown-Easley, with PTSD who told a bank teller that he had a bomb in his backpack.

The movie shows how Brown-Easley was motivated by the lack of support he was given from the VA, yet he was never out for blood. He only wanted recognition to show how the VA had mistreated him and get the money back from the VA ($892) that was taken from his disability check. Brown-Easley feels powerless about what the VA has done to him, so he tries to take back his power by robbing the bank.

The VA took the money because he had attended a for-profit tech school. Brown-Easley attended the school under the GI bill, meaning that he really had no debt at all, and the loss of money sent him into homelessness. The VA was unable to offer any concrete solutions or provide any help.

A unique part of this story is that Brown-Easley never had any intention to rob the bank. He voiced his grievances through conversations with law enforcement and news media where he demanded to be placed on camera. While the film spends much of its time highlighting the treatment of veterans, there are several undertones that express observations on both race and the police.

One of the more subtle undertones of racial injustice was how the white police officers treated Brown-Easley versus how the Black police officers treated him. The white police officers seemed more concerned with getting the situation solved as soon as possible and were willing to kill Brown-Easley for it, while the Black police officers were more concerned with getting everyone out alive and taking things slowly to ensure safety. The goal of all the officers was for the conflict to end, but they thought about it in vastly diverse ways.

It is good that the movie establishes racial injustices that are often overlooked. Recently these injustices have been more recognized, and it is beneficial to see it throughout our media as well. Even though it is subtle, given that there were other themes to the movie, it is still an added touch that is particularly important to the story.

Brown-Easley held Rosa and Estel, two of the bank tellers, hostage and told them to call 911. He requested fire trucks, police, and news stations. When the 911 operator did not take him seriously enough, he called a local news producer, Lisa, instead. It was then that he was finally able to get the attention that he wanted and explained what he was doing and why he was doing it.

This movie was an incredibly fun watch that was easy to follow, while also providing thought provoking questions. The relevance of social injustice in our society today makes the movie even more interesting to watch.

While going to the movies, I had originally wanted to see Minions: The Rise of Gru, but I am incredibly happy to have seen this movie. Though, I suspect Minions: The Ruse of Gru would have had a happier ending.

The movie continuously flashes back to show different events that led up to this point as well as shows how his ex-wife and young daughter were struggling after hearing what was going on. Overall, the movie is a heartfelt tragedy meant to invoke watchers to consider social justice issues and adequate support for veterans.

“Breaking” receives 4/5 banks because I had originally wanted to see “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and I believe that movie would have had a happier ending.