This film is instantly recognizable as an Anthony Minghella film in one respect -- it centers on characters who are pathologically determined to sweep something under the carpet, even if they have to stomp up and down on that 'something' to keep it under there. Like his brilliant Hitchcock-opera, The Talented Mr. Ripley, which never used the word 'gay,' no matter how many bodies stacked up like cordwood at the expense of Ripley's psychotic self-denial, Breaking and Entering centers on an up-market London couple -- the wife is so up-market she's 'half-Swedish' -- who also suffer greatly for having no 'word' that sheds light on their dilemma. Robin Wright Penn and Jude Law play the possibly un-proud parents of a high-functioning autistic child who is aggressively weird, excels at a flip-heavy style of gymnastics and knows that she will never, under any circumstances, be disciplined by her happening liberal parents, even when she throws things. They are resigned to just sit and age at an accelerated rate while she backflips across the kitchen table.
The impossible situation at home leads Jude Law's character to grab at a hobby when one is dangled in front of him. As a city planner, he has boldly moved his family to King's Cross, an urban location that passes for 'inner city' in London. He plans to sweep it into the 21st century with an expensive-looking urban renewal plan. Soon, his office becomes the repeated target of a gang of professional burglars who take everything not nailed down, right down to his little toy-soldier men on special order from Japan, that he uses as stand-ins for people in his scale model of the future, burglar-free King's Cross. Unable to accept the irony, Jude begins an amateur stakeout routine, waiting around outside his office at night in an SUV for the thieves to materialize, so he can accost them. It's somewhere around this point that the screenplay begins to drag the characters into directions they would never go, and towards people they would never interact with, so they can ultimately make decisions they would never make.