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Band of Brothers: The Breaking Point

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Josh Ralske
"The Breaking Point" is the almost unrelentingly violent seventh installment of HBO's critically acclaimed miniseries. Those who anticipated the kind of grisly realistic action sequences seen in executive producer Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan will find them here. At this point in the series, the audience has come to know many of these characters well enough to be emotionally involved in their unhappy fates. This episode clearly demonstrates the toll that the fighting has taken, even on the strongest of the men. Buck Compton (Neal McDonough), once a likeably cocky leader, has become a shell of himself since being injured. After one of his men is killed in an accidental shooting, he goes around to all the men, imploring them not to "do anything stupid." Penkala points out the absurdity of his request after Compton leaves -- "Don't do anything stupid? A bunch of morons who volunteered to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?" In one genuinely heartbreaking moment, Compton sees two of his best men maimed by the shelling, and breaks down. This episode, written by Graham Yost and directed by David Frankel, contains some of the best dialogue and the most terrifying battle sequences in the series. Donnie Wahlberg does fine, subtle work as Easy Company's dedicated first sergeant, Carwood Lipton, who narrates the episode. Lipton steps to the foreground in this episode, and the audience gets to see how hard he works to keep up morale and keep his men focused. Seven episodes into the series, Band of Brothers, which has occasionally been overwhelming in its depiction of the chaos of battle, finally achieves the dramatic impact it's been building toward. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi
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