Break Away review (and a chance to win a free DVD copy)

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Film Review
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Break Away
“Break Away” tells the story of Francois (Frans Cronjé) – a hard working husband and dad who gets laid off from his job. None of his efforts to get another job succeed and he is forced to use what he has, including an old bicycle, in order to provide for his family. With the help of his “black sheep” brother Juan (Etienne Janse van Rensburg), and a bicycle shop owner named Eli (Morné Theunissen), Francois makes some life-changing discoveries about his life, career and faith in God. It’s a low budget film, and that’s okay given a small story well told, and this is just such a film. There are many nice touches and well thought out shots. Especially effective is the use of slow motion in several scenes. The music is dead-on most of the time, but there are a couple of song clips that seems forced (and one or two less montages would have been better). That said, there are several nonprofessional moves in this film. More than once the vector line is crossed, and that can make it confusing on who is talking to whom. There are an over abundance of profile shots, too, and in seeing the behind-the-scenes clips, it appears they shot many of the scenes with several cameras at the same time. This is a typical low-budget move, but with better planning it is easy enough to get a more professional touch when picking shots and angles.
The use of the alarm-clock waking a character who then begins his/her day sequence has been discussed and written about many times on various film sites and at festivals. Its overuse has made it into a classic film cliché than many say never, never use in any film ever again if want your film to be considered more professional. Since hearing and reading about this so much, it’s hard not to notice this when it occurs in a film. In “Break Away,” we have not one, but two times this sequence shows up (and a third time with only Francois getting out of bed). All three of these sequences could’ve been cut and it would not have affected the story in the least bit (the basic editing rule and a way to keep a film from “going long.”)
The acting in “Break Away” is pretty solid. Frans Cronjé as François does a good job and he gains the viewers empathy quickly. Leoné Pienaar as François’s wife Michelle is wonderful. Her scenes really pop. Morné Theunissen as Eli the bike shop owner and Etienne Janse van Rensburg as brother Juan do a fine job of bringing these characters to life. The one drawback is the thick South African accent that makes it hard to follow the dialogue at times. It takes awhile getting used to this, and subtitles might have been a nice option. The guitar player character is a very nice touch, and especially delicious is the hilarious scene when François needed some extra change. His reoccurrence in the film is fun and appreciative.


Despite some of its low-budget flaws, I watched this film twice, which says a lot about how easy it is to view. “Break Away” is a good effort and worthwhile viewing. The story moves along briskly, and yes, it is another Christian sports movie. If you like these types of films, this film will not disappoint. The Christian angle is well handled and not forced, and I appreciated how they utilize a parable as the core of the story, but in a subtle and non-preachy way. This film is enjoyable for the entire family and will be available on DVD April 23. As a special event, if you would like to win a free copy, become a follower of this blog (daleward1.wordpress.com) and on April 26 I will randomly pick a winner from all of the current followers at that time. I will post the name of the winner on this blog. So become a follower for your chance to win a free DVD copy of “Break Away.”

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“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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