Breathe Poster

Breathe (2024) Review

Breathe takes place in the year 2039 when plant life has become extinct and, as a result, Earth’s oxygen levels are too low to sustain life on the surface. One family, Darius (Common, Terminator Salvation, John Wick 2), Maya (Jennifer Hudson, Winnie Mandela, Cats) and their daughter Zora (Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Swagger) survive in an underground bunker making brief trips to the surface with an oxygen suit Darius created.

As the film opens, Darius’ father dies in an accident on the surface. Darius decides to risk the journey to bury him next to his mother. Months later, he hasn’t returned, then Tess (Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil, The Fourth Kind) and Lucas (Sam Worthington, Simulant, Avatar) turn up claiming to know what happened to him.

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Writer Doug Simon (Brotherhood, Demonic) and director Stefon Bristol (See You Yesterday, The Bodega) are short on details about how Breathe’s world came to be. We’re simply told that Darius was an engineer and a prepper, and I guess that was enough to build this incredible high-tech bunker in the middle of Brooklyn. Similarly, we’re told that the world hit a “tipping point” and collapsed in a matter of months. I’m assuming it was from climate change and deforestation, but it’s never made clear.

Instead, we get some dull domestic drama between Zora and her mother, which thankfully gets interrupted by the arrival of Micah (Raúl Castillo, Night Teeth, Wrath of Man), Tess and Lucas, who try to talk their way into the bunker. And when that doesn’t work, they try to force their way in.

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This should be exciting, but while it is better than the endless talk that precedes it, it’s not all that thrilling. After a few scuffles, it settles into Zora and Maya arguing and lots of shots of Lucas hooting and hollering while trying to cut through the bunker’s blast doors. It’s a siege situation, and not a particularly exciting one. But since the bunker is so poorly designed, it’s relatively simple to sabotage the system that provides their oxygen, it’s not a long siege.

The sloppy writing doesn’t help either as the film is filled with inconsistencies, people having to do unbelievably stupid things in order to make the plot work and several implausible coincidences. Breathe is a dumpster fire from start to finish, and I’m left wondering how anyone thought this was worth giving the kind of plot that allowed it to hire well known actors. I would also have thought that, after Future World, Milla Jovovich would have avoided shitty post apocalyptic scripts like Breathe.

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I could keep going on about the stupid orange filter that’s supposed to convince us the atmosphere is destroyed. Or the fact that guns work outdoors despite the lack of oxygen and the sun’s rays don’t instantly fry you. But I think you get the point, anything else I could say would just be beating a dead horse.

It’s only April, but I have a strong feeling this is one of the worst films I’ll see all year. The script is abysmal, the direction and cinematography, by Felipe Vara de Rey (How to Ruin the Holidays, Fire Island), uninspired at best. Even the usually dependable leads are merely going through the motions. Amusingly enough, some user reviews ignore all of that to express their terminal outrage that the film’s heroes have dark skin and the white folk are the villains. I guess some folk are still living in the 50s.

Breathe has already been released in several countries, including France, Ukraine and Taiwan. It will be available in the US and Canada in theatres and on Digital Platforms on April 26th via Warner Bros.. Signature Entertainment will release it on May 20th in the UK.

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Our Score

4 thoughts on “Breathe (2024) Review”

  1. “Or the fact that guns work outdoors despite the lack of oxygen and the sun’s rays don’t instantly fry you.”
    For future reference, guns don’t need oxygen, gunpowder includes an oxidant. Nor does the oxygen in the air particularly filter the sun or cool the planet.
    Thanks for the review, I may have watched based on the decent cast.

  2. The ozone layer does prevent a lot of UV radiation from getting through. Ozone is O3.

    If pretty much all oxygen is gone, so should the ozonelayer.

    But I just saw this movie (well, the first half hour. Then I left) in the cinema, and what wasn’t mentioned is that the thing that killed all plants also got rid of the oceans. We see an empty NY harbor.

    The only way for this to work, would be if what happened stripped the air molecules from the H2O. But then why are people fine outside? And why are they trying to plant stuff outside if there literally is no water from rain or whatever?

    Why are Tess and company trying to break down the door to an oxygenated bunker? That would destroy stuff of significant value. Why does the side scrolling metal blastdoor of the decompression chamber budge backwards when a random person rams into it?

    Why do people run around with weapons at the ready going “please help us, we’re not here to hurt you.”?

  3. Also how does everything look like its been left out to weather for 100s of years and it’s on been 4 years since the event

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