‘Breakdown’ is intriguing in so many ways. The movie starts with a woman and what seems to be her daughter, driving on an empty road at night; as it usually happens in horror movies, this is never a good sign, and here we are on to the point of finding out why. At some point, the car gets a flat tire, and the woman has to stop and change it. She’s messaging someone saying that they will be late. At that moment, another car passes by, and the driver offers to help the woman with her car problem. He is somewhat helpful, but at some point, he becomes a little too invasive, and the situation becomes awkward. The pressure is rising, and the woman finds a brief moment to run off. What happens from here on is beyond anyone’s imagination.
Sándor Gál’s film kept us on the edge of our seats the whole time, as it starts as a classic thriller-horror based on its overall mood, and ends up as a masterpiece of unexpectedness. We absolutely loved the performance of Riana Emma Balla, the little girl who knows when to keep her calm and is able to seek the perfect moment to make a move. She comes after a long legacy of wonder kids that delivered impressive performances, as there are so many scenes where she simply shines! Being calm in a tensioned situation is the key to getting out alive, and she is magnificent in doing so.
At some point in recent times, there has been a pattern for fiction films to play with the ending, which in most cases is the key moment in the narrative. Many go for an open ending; others go for the sad ending to overshadow the crude reality, and just a few of the directors actually go on the well-known path of happy-endings, probably thinking that they are overrated and never fully satisfying for the real connoisseurs. In Sándor Gál’s short, we are more than happy that the ending is as it is, proving once again that sometimes the classics are the best and most spectacular experiments.
Written by Vlad A. G.