The Break

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Action, Drama, Thriller

A refugee from Ireland's Troubles finds that he can run but he can't hide. Longtime IRA soldier Sean Dowd (Stephen Rea) joins his prison mates in a bold and bloody escape, but once he's outside he realizes the passion and resolve that made him a valuable asset to the cause have been drained away by his years in jail. He relocates to New York, takes a room...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A refugee from Ireland's Troubles finds that he can run but he can't hide. Longtime IRA soldier Sean Dowd (Stephen Rea) joins his prison mates in a bold and bloody escape, but once he's outside he realizes the passion and resolve that made him a

valuable asset to the cause have been drained away by his years in jail. He relocates to New York, takes a room in a transient hotel and drifts into a menial job as a restaurant dishwasher. After nearly getting himself killed while trying to break up a fight between a strung-out junkie and her

boyfriend, he's nursed back to health by coworker Tulio (Alfred Molina) and his beautiful sister Monica (Rosana Pastor), Guatemalan exiles with a secret agenda. Almost as though he had no will of his own, Sean finds himself drawn back into the world of activism and political assassination, with

the inevitable tragic consequences. This offbeat dramatic thriller is built around the mournful presence of Irish actor Stephen Rea, and he brings considerable nuance and gravity to a character who's more clearly defined by negative characteristics than positive ones: Sean can't go back to the IRA

and can't face the difficulties of living underground in the UK; though he cuts himself off from his old friends and comrades, he can't muster the resolve to start a new life in New York either. Haunted and lost, Sean is a daringly passive and alienated protagonist, and Rea makes him both pitiable

and compelling.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A refugee from Ireland's Troubles finds that he can run but he can't hide. Longtime IRA soldier Sean Dowd (Stephen Rea) joins his prison mates in a bold and bloody escape, but once he's outside he realizes the passion and resolve that made him a valuable… (more)

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