CIA TECH: The photograph is particularly dark. As we can see, there is a Caucasian man and a Negro woman. The resolution breaks down pretty quickly. The film stock is definitely Russian, low grade.
(Source: 2006 film called The Good Shepherd covering the history of the CIA from approx 1945 to 1961.)
What does "breaks down" mean in this context? The definition of break down has a lot of different meanings, and I'm not sure which one fits this context.
- To cause to collapse; destroy: break down a partition; broke down our resolve.
- To become or cause to become distressed or upset. To have a physical or mental collapse.
- To give up resistance; give way: prejudices that break down slowly.
- To fail to function; cease to be useful, effective, or operable: The elevator broke down.
- To render or become weak or ineffective: Opposition to the king's rule gradually broke down his authority.
- To divide into or consider in parts; analyze. To be divisible; admit of analysis: The population breaks down into three main groups.
- To decompose or cause to decompose chemically.
- Electricity To undergo a breakdown.