Spoiler Alert! This article contains some spoilers for the 2022 movie “Breaking.” Readers’ discretion is advised.

“Breaking,” originally titled “892,” is a thriller drama that premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year before Bleecker Street released it in the US on August 26, 2022. This is director-writer Abi Damaris Corbin’s first solo feature film project, co-written by Kwame Kwei-Armah. The inspiration came to Corbin after reading the long feature article “They Didn’t Have to Kill Him” by Aaron Gell about a Marine Veteran who threatened to blow up a Wells Fargo bank in desperation to receive his financial support from the Veterans Administration (VA).

In an interview, Corbin shared how the piece on the late Brian Brown-Easley had stirred her up; his story hit too close to home. “My heart was broken… I recognized my dad’s story in it,” the director shared, citing that her father is also a military veteran.

British actor John Boyega had definitely given the character justice and conveys to the audience the immense frustration and desperation of the former Marine who was on the verge of becoming homeless—a fresh sight of performance aside from being Finn in the “Star Wars” franchise.

Since this is a true story, the spoilers for the movie are actual events that you may already know, especially if you’ve witnessed the four-hour standoff as it unfolded in 2017.

Breaking 2022
(Screenshot from Rotten Tomatoes)

Brian served in Kuwait and Iraq during his service in the Marines from 2002 to 2005 as a Lance Corporal Warehouse clerk. After his honorable discharge, he returned to his mother’s home in Jeffersons, where he’d met his wife and eventually had their daughter sometime later. But before that, the couple had a relatively everyday life, except for Easley’s deep reservation. On the one hand, his wife didn’t really think much of it as the Marine veteran remained devoted and caring. The Easley’s, however, sensed something was up. Unfortunately, their suspicion would soon be proven right when Brian was diagnosed with PTSD and suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia, the reason why he can’t reenlist back into service.

His life slowly spiraled until 2017, when Brian reached his breaking point with concerns over her daughter coupled with the prospect of homelessness taking a toll on him.

“Desperate but calm,” a WSB-TV reporter described Brian in one of its coverage following his death. The distressed Marine veteran contacted the newsroom shortly after taking the bank hostage.