Don’t Breathe plays on the concept of life’s question in regards to fairness as to why situations end how they do. As an audience, we take a wild jolt through seemingly mazes and complicated characters, and we lose sight of our own breathing as each action scene attacks us with one surprise after another.
The movie opens up in the first scene with an older man dragging a younger woman by her blonde hair. As the beginning unravels, we discover it is a blind man who was once a soldier and now lives alone in a comfortable home, while Rocky, the younger woman, lives with an alcoholic mother who is dating a drug addict. In contrast, Rocky also has a younger sister who dreams of surfing in California and who Rocky feels responsible for. Rocky is also part of the team with Money and Alex who rob rich houses in order to make better lives for themselves.
To penetrate farther into the theme, for a while we may believe the blind man is vulnerable and should be pitied and his own dark secret stowed away in his basement.
But it isn’t until after he is robbed and he catches the kids that we understand who he really is. He isn’t just a soldier who endured his own traumas in the war he fought or a sweet old man who plays family videos to help him sleep at night, but he believes that any wrongdoers deserve what they get and he is more than happy to make their last moments as miserable as he can.
As for the other characters, the audience only understands that Alex’s dad is in some sort trouble through a text to Alex that asks for money. There is much more to Rocky’s story. When she is together with the two guys for the first time and they are scouting the blind man’s home, the camera crosscuts between headshots of her and Alex, indicating some kind of connection.
In the same scene, the camera zooms in on a ladybug running up Rocky’s hand. Alex asks about her tattoo. Rocky responds that the ladybug meant a lot to her because after her parents’ divorce, her mom blamed her for it. Her mom would lock Rocky in the car trunk for hours and once a ladybug visited her and she had felt comforted. Rocky further said that once she arrived in California, she planned to color her tattoo, but that was the last time she would mark her body. While it is not said outright, the audience gets a feeling that the ladybug is a symbol of happiness and freedom for Rocky. Money, of whom we never get any idea of his background, returns from scouting the area and suggests that they all return later on. But, just before he pulls away, a black-and-brown huge dog leaps on the window at them, a foreshadowing not to return or they will pay.
But they do anyway. At 2 a.m. Rocky, thinking of her sister, is the one who offers to break in. The camera pans around from behind her and we get the impression that she is being watched. As soon as they get into the house, they take their shoes off and leave them under the table. The camera lingers on the shot of all three pairs, hinting at the poor decision made.
Even though Money shortly after releases sleeping gas, things do not go according to their plan, thus the reason I believe this movie focuses on coincidence and how things can go wrong despite plans. The blind man awakens and the “fun” begins. In irony to his first name, Money is the one who pays first. Meanwhile Alex’s gut lacks any good feeling. Despite that Rocky’s expression shows apprehension, she hesitates since she is thinking of how they money will get her sister out of the home situation. The camera again cuts to the image of the shoes under the table. Noises are made and then, suddenly, the blind man is standing in the room with them, his gun drawn. He and Money get into a physical battle and Money loses.
From there, the movie goes on with a repeat of the same images: alarms, locks, ladybug, keys, and windows. In the end, Rocky and Alex make several escape attempts but, only by pure luck or the tools they happen upon. While they are separated for a time, and she discovers light from the tunnel she has gone through, Rocky kicks at the window until it breaks. She is about to jump out when the blind man drags her back and punches her until she is knocked out. The camera focuses on her eye, and as she awakes, she is on a bed with a wall of couch pads behind her. Instead of being locked in a trunk, she is in the room that the blind man imprisoned his daughter’s killer. His plan? Since Rocky broke into his house and the woman who was going to have his replacement daughter got killed in the madness, so Rocky must pay. The blind man plans to impregnate her through a syringe of his sperm.
It’s then Rocky cries out for God but the blind man tells her there is no God. Just as the blind man is about to inject his sperm into her, bloody and bruised Alex breaks in and throws a dagger at the blind man’s heart. It’s looks like justice may finally be served. To be on the safe side, Alex also handcuffs the blind man.
Somehow the blind man escapes and the cat-and-mouse chase messes with your head. But that’s all I’ll say about that or I might give too much away. Towards the end, Rocky must also overcome her idea of a car trunk as a prison while she faces the dog alone and is nearly ripped apart. She crawls into the tight space herself and the image of a ladybug also reappears and lands on her hand before it flies away. It is as though Rocky has given up and has left herself in fate’s hands.
But does she? You might want to go see the movie if you haven’t already and find out!
Reporter Rating: 4/5