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Breakwater (2023)

Dovey (Darren Mann) has recently been released from prison, and he’s been tasked with tracking down a fellow inmate’s estranged daughter. He’s risking his own freedom to do this, but he has the best of intentions, and he knows that he’s doing the right thing. Breakwater is Dovey’s journey toward redemption, even if he hasn’t quite ironed out all of the kinks yet.

The first forty-five minutes of Breakwater is exactly what you’d expect from a redemption story. It’s cheesy, preachy, and uninteresting; it’s just like every film of this subgenre that’s come before, and I was bored. The relationships between Dovey and Ray Childress (Dermot Mulroney) and Dovey and Eve (Alyssa Goss) were cliche, like a million cinematic relationships that you’ve seen before. They were nothing special. They didn’t evoke emotion, they didn’t interest me in the slightest, and the film suffers as a result of this. Again, I was bored, and I couldn’t find any merit in Writer-Director James Rowe’s Breakwater as a result.

Breakwater was boringly familiar in the opening act, and it’s not until the cliche nature of the film shifts to something different that I think viewers found something to latch onto, a rooting preference if you will. As the film transitions into its actual story, one that hides beneath the surface for far too long, viewers become attracted to what it has to offer, and after that change Breakwater becomes an entirely different film. The full potential of the film is realized at this point, and it didn’t come a moment too soon.

Eve uses the word “fuck” more than most characters in film usually do, and while that seems like an odd thing to look at and be attracted to in a character, it’s a huge part of her development. She’s the sort of damsel in distress from time to time, but her abundant use of “fuck” constantly reminds viewers that there is more to her, that she’s a force to be reckoned with, and while she’s charming on the surface, she’s a boss ass bitch (thanks Ted Lasso). She develops at a much better rate than Breakwater as a whole, as she’s ultimately the whole package. Eve has her moments of charm, she gets to be a badass every now and again, and, let’s be honest, the fact that she’s attractive will appeal to a group of viewers that may not have initially cared for the film otherwise. Goss must embody every bit of this dynamic character, and I don’t think that she ever falters. In all honesty, Goss and Eve may just be the best part of Breakwater.

The start Breakwater is everything that you’d expect it to be, and that’s not a good thing. However, as the film begins to develop it takes a turn for the better, developing characters, shifting the story and its tone, and ultimately becoming a much more enjoyable film. That shift was unexpected, but incredibly welcome. Once Breakwater takes a turn for the better it never looks back–and the film becomes an enjoyable thriller full of emotion and fun.

Written & Directed by James Rowe.

Starring Darren Mann, Alyssa Goss, Dermot Mulroney, Celia Rose Gooding, Sonja Sohn, Mena Suvari, etc.




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