The Crusader Newspaper Group

‘Breaking’ new film based on true, tragic story of Marine

When Marine veteran Brian Brown-Easley is denied support from Veterans Affairs, financially desperate and running out of options, he takes a bank and several of its employees hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. “Breaking” is based on a true story.

Breaking movie
MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS is a special officer trying to save a
veteran’s life in ‘Breaking.’

In a nutshell, he’s been shorted his disability check by the V.A., and he sets out to get his money.

John Boyega plays Brown-Easley in a film that also features the late “The Wire” standout Michael K. Williams that may turn out to be Williams’ last movie role.

It is shocking that the film is based on a real life story and that ex-servicemen are treated so poorly.

Brown-Easley goes to the V.A. office only to learn that his check which totaled around $900 is being held up because of some tuition reimbursement requirements that may not have been met.

The veteran is livid and is thrown out of the office only to go to the bank to demand his money.

Brown-Easley enters the Georgia bank and orders everyone out except for the female bank manager and another female employee. He is so nice and sympathetic to his hostages to an extent that is almost unbelievable.

IMG 1653
JOHN BOYEGA AS Brian Brown-Easley takes shelter behind a desk in the bank.

“For this to surface in this way, to tell this story that connects to mental health struggles that our veterans have also,” Boyega told media outlet Complex. “And then the complications of just dealing with issues, financial issues, it’s very special to be able to touch on those several points.” The film does touch upon mental health issues within the veteran community, as well as poverty and government bureaucracy.

Breaking movie
Poster art from ‘Breaking.’

Brown-Easley is receiving disability benefits and has an ex-wife and young child who are exposed to the television reports of the bank takeover.

In enters Williams who is a special officer who tries to get ahold of the situation before officers come in with guns blazing. He appeals to Brown-Easley’s Marine service saying he was an ex-Marine also.

Eventually the conversation with Brown-Easley, who just wants a pack of cigarettes to calm him down—and even though the bank manager played by Nicole Beharie offers to give him the missing money, which he turns down—ends in a hail of gunfire with tragic results.

“Breaking” starts in theaters nationwide on August 26.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago ( or email: [email protected].

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