Review of ‘Breathe’: Jennifer Hudson and Milla Jovovich Struggle in Sci-Fi Thriller

If you thought ‘Rebel Moon‘ was the worst science fiction film

released this year, prepare to be surprised.

‘Breathe Review’

Breath Review

In Brooklyn, New York, in the year 2039, two masked individuals a father and his son—navigate a bleak world tinged with an unappealing orange hue. Through unnecessary on-screen text, we learn that oxygen is scarce. This reveals how little faith director Stefon Bristol’sBreathe‘ has in its audience. Unlike recent films that offer thought-provoking commentary on the urgency of climate collapse, ‘Breathe’ merely skims the surface of its post-apocalyptic setting.

An accident results in death, leaving Darius (played by Common) cradling his father as he passes away—a promising beginning that is quickly overshadowed. The film shifts focus to Darius embarking on a journey, a narrative that unfolds off-screen and in the past, leaving us disconnected. One might find it more captivating to imagine Common in the captivating sci-fi series ‘Silo,’ which explores the theme of isolation from an inhospitable world, than to invest in ‘Breathe‘.

Before departing, Darius visits his wife Maya (played by Jennifer Hudson) and daughter Zora (portrayed by Quvenzhané Wallis). Some unnatural and awkward dialogue attempts to establish their relationships. Then, he leaves. Zora narrates how they reached this point, explaining what is already evident in the CGI-rendered dystopian New York. She looks directly into the camera, expressing their lack of emotional preparedness for the future. Speaking into a radio as if her father can hear, it’s a tired gimmick that fails to evoke the intended emotional impact. The film continually struggles to grasp the emotions it seeks to convey.

‘Breathe’ Is a Shallow Work of Science Fiction

The future that Zora discusses initially seems reminiscent of ‘The Road,’ the often overlooked adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s impactful novel, but the film lacks the subtlety and depth required to achieve this level of storytelling. One issue is the shallow relationship between Maya and Zora, mostly depicted through failed attempts at familial comedy in their daily routines.

When they’re indoors, the pacing feels rushed, lacking the characters’ natural rhythms. The silver lining is that we’re spared from the unappealing visual style dominating the outside world. However, they’re overshadowed by the absence of their patriarch, a narrative tool used bluntly by writer Doug Simon to create conflict between them. After a dinner argument where Zora expresses her desire to search for her father, Maya exasperatedly remarks, ‘We cannot keep fighting like this.’ Why not explore another dimension of their characters beyond the standard rebellious daughter and overbearing mother tropes? Perhaps then, as events unfold, we would have truly understood them beyond their clichéd roles.

Maya and Zora quickly encounter Tess (played by Milla Jovovich) and Lucas (played by Sam Worthington), who ask for their help. They claim to belong to a group elsewhere and need to speak with Darius about replicating their O2 generator. Maya is skeptical and questions how they can trust them. Tess reassures Maya with exaggerated sincerity, saying she gives her word. Despite Maya’s doubts, Zora convinces her to talk with them outside. Predictably, things go wrong, leading to a chaotic battle for the refuge the family has established.

As I watched it unfold, with paranoia and mistrust gripping the characters, ‘Breathe‘ feels like it’s trying to imitate a story already masterfully told in ‘It Comes at Night.’ Bristol’s portrayal of this dystopian world feels too cautious in its tone, failing to fully delve into the weighty themes of its apocalyptic setting.

There are moments where it seems like Hudson’s character is being censored from swearing too much, with the dubbed “motherfreaking” being the most absurd instance. What’s even worse is that each dramatic escalation feels clumsy, making it hard to take the story seriously. There’s no sense of tension when it shifts to defending the sanctuary against Tess and Lucas, who are trying to break in. Instead, it’s painfully dull and strained.

A week ago, the worst science fiction movie of the year would have been Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver.’ But now, ‘Breathe‘ gives it tough competition. Whenever it tries to be thrilling, it falls flat.

Its attempts at drama lack depth. The visual style is unpleasant to look at. Despite its small scale, which could have been intriguing, it fails to get the basics right. Each new twist, especially one midway through that sends two characters on a random journey, feels hollow and contrived. It’s as if you can pinpoint the exact moment when the film ran out of ideas, which it already had very few of, and had to force in more conflict before wrapping everything up in an oddly tidy ending.

The cast is left struggling in a story that lacks direction, unable to bring life to the already weak lines. As everything unravels, there’s nothing to hold it together. It feels like a half-hearted attempt at a sci-fi thriller, lacking the necessary energy to succeed. Ultimately, ‘Breathe‘ is all talk and no substance—a void where a movie should be, sucking the life out of the room. By the end, as it drags toward a conclusion, you stop caring about what’s happening. Its final moments fade into emptiness, leaving nothing behind.

Azad Arshi

Azad Arshi

I'm Blogger, Content Researcher and Love to Spread Happiness. Stay Up to Date With Film Fever - Daily Entertainment Updates.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *