Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Breakwater drowns in clichés

Following a twenty-five-year hiatus, James Rowe returns to the world of writing and directing in Breakwater from Vertical. The simplistic plot revolves around Dovey, a young and vulnerable ex-convict played by Darren Mann, who is manipulated by his prison mentor, Ray Childress, portrayed by Dermot Mulroney. Ray’s cunning nature leads him to ask Dovey to break his parole and do him a favor. The favor is to track down Ray’s estranged daughter, Eve, played by Alyssa Goss, who lives in another state.

With a sense of obligation, Dovey sets off on a journey across state lines to find Eve. However, as he delves deeper into her life, he realizes that her past is much more dangerous than anything he has ever faced in prison. The situation becomes complicated, and Dovey finds himself in a dilemma, trying to figure out what to do next.

Breakwater is a film that fails to deliver on multiple levels. The premise of the movie is built on the tired trope of an ex-con seeking redemption, but instead, it descends into a predictable and uninspired narrative. Mulroney is featured heavily in the promo material, but he is only here for a check and is leaning into the grumpy old man phase of his career.

The main character, portrayed by Darren Mann, is under-developed and come across as one-dimensional. His decision to risk his freedom to pursue the daughter of his fellow inmate feels unnatural and lacks believability. The audience needs assistance empathizing with a character whose motivations are united to being and are not adequately explained. While Alyssa Goss does her best with the material, the script does not do her justice.

The film’s plot is filled with overused storylines and unlikely coincidences, which may challenge the audience’s ability to believe in the story. The movie’s pacing could be more varied, with some scenes being extended for too long, failing to create a sense of tension or interest among the viewers. Additionally, the dialogue feels stilted and unrealistic, which detracts from the overall experience of watching the movie.

Breakwater heavily relies on weak plot twists, gratuitous violence, and cheap thrills, sacrificing substance for shock value. The characters lack complexity and are reduced to mere stereotypes, further undermining the film’s attempts at emotional resonance. In addition, the movie suffers from lackluster direction, uninspired cinematography, and a derivative score that fails to enhance the on-screen action, resulting in a visually unremarkable and emotionally unengaging experience.

Breakwater is a forgettable and unoriginal film that lacks a captivating storyline and interesting characters. It relies heavily on clichés and fails to bring anything fresh or thought-provoking. As a result, it is recommended that viewers spend their time watching a more innovative and well-crafted piece of cinema instead.

Final Grade: D+

Breakwater is In Theaters and On Demand on December 22, 2023

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Breakwater drowns in clichés