The Break (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Break (1998)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

An IRA volunteer tries to leave his life of violence behind -- only to discover it's waiting for him in America -- in this drama based on a story by leading man Stephen Rea. Dowd (Rea) is a convicted terrorist with the Irish Republican Army who is serving a sentence in a prison in Northern Ireland. While his girlfriend Roisin (Maria Doyle Kennedy) patiently waits for his release, Dowd feels that he has no real future to offer her; the path he's chosen in life is not an easy one to move away from. After a visit from Roisin, Dowd is returning to his cell when he finds himself in the middle of a group of prisoners attempting an escape; Dowd impulsively joins them and turns out to be one of only two convicts to make it out alive. With forged papers, Dowd sneaks into the United States, where he takes a job as a dishwasher and lives in a dingy welfare hotel in Manhattan. While trying to mediate a domestic dispute among his neighbors, Dowd is stabbed in the back; a group of Guatemalan exiles who share an apartment in the building, led by Tulio (Alfred Molina), come to Dowd's rescue and treat his wounds. Dowd becomes friends with Tulio, his friend Paco (Jorge Sanz), and his daughter Monica (Rosana Pastor), and in time, he learns why they've come to the United States. The CIA operative who tortured and killed Tulio's father now lives in New York City, and they have come to assassinate him. However, Tulio and Paco have no experience in political violence, and no talent for it; Dowd soon finds himself drawn into their plan as he helps them organize a serious attempt on the CIA man's life, a situation that becomes all the more complicated when he finds himself falling in love with the beautiful Monica. The supporting cast includes Pruitt Taylor Vince, Paul Giamatti, Brendan Gleeson, and Coati Mundi, a former member of the adventurous R&B group Kid Creole & the Coconuts.


Sean McGinley
as Tommy Breen
Roy Haybeard
as Food Lorry Driver
Robert Taylor (II)
as Visiting Room Prison Officer
B.J. Hogg
as Albert
Seamus Ball
as First Prison Officer--Tallylodge
James Duran
as Gate Prison Officer
Deirdre O'Kane
as Breen's Girlfriend
Catriona Hinds
as Richard's Wife
Paul Giamatti
as Hotel Clerk
Brian Vincent
as Lorenzo Bauch
Ciaran O'Reilly
as Passer-by
Jerry Grayson
as Restaurant Manager
Ken Solarino
as Subway Man
Myra Carter
as Neighbor
Luis Argueta
as Ramon's Bodyguard
George Bass
as Ramon's Driver
Richard Council
as FBI Agent No. 1
John Rothman
as FBI Agent No. 2
Ndehru Roberts
as Kid Gun Dealer
Alba Oms
as Stall Owner
Mario Mendoza
as Mustachioed Man
Teresa Yenque
as Indian Woman
View All

Critic Reviews for The Break

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

The film is over-ambitious, yet the confident direction of Robert Dornhelm helps it hang together.

March 28, 2019 | Rating: 3/5

It's a political thriller from which all the politics has been carefully spooned.

March 28, 2019 | Full Review…

Andrzej Sekula's cinematography is a poetic, masterful presence.

January 3, 2007 | Full Review…

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The two central characters are not the only ones who wish things had been different. I, for one, would have liked to laugh. Or cry. Or at least be entertained.

June 13, 2006

if you haven't seen a film this month with an ex IRA hero, you won't go wrong with "The Break."

April 9, 2003

Audience Reviews

There are no featured reviews for The Break at this time.

The Break Quotes

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