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Breach 2007

FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was put on trial for selling secrets to the Soviet Union...

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Solar rating: 7.4


Imdb rating: 7

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Awesome movie.

Breach 8/10
A great suspense/drama filled with bits and pieces of all the right stuff. The movie's subject matter is all about how the FBI and other government agencies tracked and caught the infamous spy Robert Hanssen who was giving confidential government to countries such as Russia. The acting in this film is superb with Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe both excellently portraying their characters. The supporting cast is great also.

The great suspense and drama of catching the spy in the act and the toll it took on Phillippe's character and his character's wife are astoundingly well depicted. The plot moves along fairly well; everything leading up to the final half hour where all is explained nicely. The music contributes to the tense and dramatic scenes between the characters. Thus, this movie is a great psychological and mental suspense/drama enjoyable to many, but especially those who love good acting and a tightly wound plot.
Religious fanatic pervert spy takes Ryan Phillippe under his wing.

Sure, it's entertaining enough as-is, but played for laughs, this could have been one helluva tour-de-force.

Two-Sentence Movie Reviews
:) Theatre: February 16, 2007

This movie is about a young FBI agent who is put into a tricky situation when he discovers his boss has been selling secrets to his Russian counterparts. Ryan Philippe plays the young FBI agent and assistant to Chris Cooper's Robert Hanssen, a long-term, embittered FBI employee who has been giving US secrets to the Russians. This movie was based on the real story of Robert Hanssen.

We had a weird experience when we went to the theatre to see this movie. When a movie isn't showing in Aiken, we drive the 40 minutes to Augusta. This time, though, when I was checking the movie times, I saw that Factory Girl was showing, but not at the theatre we usually go to, but rather to a theatre in Evans, a suburb of Augusta. I inadvertently wrote down the time for Breach at the Evans theatre and when we showed up at our regular theatre at 3:45 for the 4:15 showing, we were told the movie had started at 3:15. The ticket seller generously gave us quick directions to the Evans theatre, a good 15 minutes up Washington without traffic, but there was tons of traffic on this Friday afternoon. We decided to try to get there anyway, even though we didn't know exactly where we were going. Surprisingly, we found the threatre and even had time to buy popcorn before the 4:15 show began.

My Review: After all that, we liked the film. It wasn't exactly great, but the acting was very good and the story compelling. We both had heard of Robert Hanssen, but didn't know the details of his life. We also are fans of Ryan Philippe and Chris Cooper.
Breach [ * * *


Over pretentious filmmaking and message preaching could have brought Breach down, but they don't. Unlike The Good Shepherd, Breach is a subtle film, whose theme of betrayal is more or less revealed in the creeping evolution of it's characters, particularly that of Chris Cooper's (who gives the kind of performance that's detrimental to a picture's watchability). Based on a true story, there's very little left for the film to surprise an audience with, so director Billy Ray (Shattered Glass) has the troublesome job of building tension wherein the outcome is already premeditated. Ray succeeds in creating the uncomfortable, and consequently tension-filled, environment by feeding us with the condemning evidence against an unknowing, yet suspicious Robert Hanson, but the credit is more due to Cooper's portrayal of the traitor than anything else. He dominates the entire film, giving what is at once a disturbing and oddly sympathetic performance that's sure to demonstrate the complexities of the actor's impeccable range. On the downside, Ryan Phillippe is his challenger, and fails to convince as a formidable advesary. I've never seen much talent emerge from Phillippe's performances before, and with Breach, I still haven't. It's never believable that Phillippe could outsmart Cooper and it makes the conclusion that much more harder to swallow, despite it being fact-based. If you ask me, the guy is better suited running away from hook-weilding fisherman than highly intelligent benedict arnold FBI agents. Still, Breach is an above average entry into the early 2007 season that boasts a performance from Chris Cooper strong enough to belittle the flaws. Let's just hope it's strong enough to be remembered come December. Grade: B

'Breach' gets as much out of its actors as you could possibly hope for. It's what takes 'Breach' from being a smart thriller to a downright great movie. And so early on in the year, I couldn't have asked for more. 'Breach' is a film for those seeking a break from being smacked over the head with the continuous stream of romance and empty action flicks. It's smart, compelling, intense. What more could you ask for? And when you didn't think it could get any better, Chris Cooper lifts this film to a completely new level that'll leave you shocked and exhilarated.

Two-Word Review
Compelling Fiction

1st: Well Executed.

Perspective: Heard it was about catching a spy, and Chris and Ryan were in it.

Premise: Based on the real life story of Robert Hanssen, brilliant ecentric and yet severely disenchanted FBI agent who sold top secret US Government information to the Russians, told through the overall perspective of Eric O'Neill, the FBI intern, who played a key part in bringing him in.

Who should watch: Fans of Chris Cooper, Ryan Philipe. Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert are in it too. Ppl who enjoy dramatized true stories, especially about spies, etc.

Overall Impression: Well done movie overall, good acting, some what suspenseful at times. On the whole, I felt as if the move was more like something you would watch on the History channel, but this time it's a docudrama with Oscar caliber actors.

The Ripples :
Chris Cooper: very good in this. He could conceivably be nominated for an Oscar if the field isn't too competitive, but I doubt that.
Ryan Philipe: He was alright. (I have a difficult time being objective with him because of what he did to Reese.)
Laura Linney: She's always pretty good as some kind of 'not-taking crap' chick.
Dennis Haysbert: I wonder if he's getting typecast. I haven't seen him as a character that's non-high ranking or potentially high-ranking since Heat and/or Waiting to Exhale.

The Story:
The most impressive thing about this film was that it is based on (at least some) real life events. It's just facinating that this Hanssen guy existed. He seemingly almost got away with all of it. He must've been one brillant, paranoid and anal SOB.

The other aspect that is impressive is that Eric was able to pull off the whole pseudo-cover. Supposedly this Hanssen guy could read anyone, either Eric was just-that-good or Hanssen was losing his touch. I'm wonder how many of the interactions were true. The nighttime shooting at the park, the PDA info dump, the traffic jam on the bridge...

Seeing that treason is punishable by death and what Hanssen's actions against his country costed the US in terms of money, live, man-power and delicate information, I find it interesting that the government didn't sentence him to death after the shear size and magnitude of repercussions from his acts of treason. There must have been some CRAZY plea bargain.

What would be the motive for some so brilliant to do something so dangerous and treasonous? While the most obvious would be money, here his reasons seem to be 'deeper'. The motive that is alluded to several times is Hanssen's disappointment with the FBI and the fact that multiple attempts to provide constructive criticism fell on deaf ears. By performing these acts right under everyone's noses, he was displaying the holes in the system. Also, in turn with these acts, a different body of people, powerful in their own right, appreciates him and lengths that he must go in order to secure and provide these secrets. So, in the end, his motive is, purely and simply, pride. It's interesting that someone so brilliant can be brought down by such a base emotio
In "Breach", probably the first good movie of 2007, Chris Cooper plays a notorious spy for Russian and Soviet intelligence, embedded within the FBI for decades before finally being captured by authorities in 2001 and sent to death row. This film doesn't attempt to span his entire history as an undercover agent, as many contemporary biopics might be tempted to do, and it also doesn't pull any punches in order to overglamourize the man or the institution's status; Robert Hanssen works in a typically boring looking office within the sterile hallways of a federal building whose hallways are lined with Dell computers and overrun with thirty-somethings in suits. Mr. Hanssen drives a Ford Taurus, attends church daily, and is devoted to his family life as much as he is with his work. Ryan Phillipe plays the man hired to oust him, the plan being to spy on Mr. Hanssen without his knowledge and get him to make an inteeligence drop (which he hides in a plastic garbage sack underneath a bridge in a public park) under the nose of federal investigators. That would be a tough job for anybody given Mr. Hanssen's perceptive capabilities and unearthly ability to "read" people, and Phillipe turns in a masterful performance as the confident young agent-to-be who must constantly walk a fine line of honesty and deceit with his superiors, Mr. Hanssen, and with his wife, who becomes increasingly fed up with her husband's secretive other life, (think Angelina Jolie in The Good Shephard, only less obnoxious and unneccessary). By staying focused and relying on the brilliant work turned in by the two leads, director Billy Ray repeats the artistic success he found with Shattered Glass, another film about internal corruption and hidden duplicity, only this time with more a more polished finesse, a more professional look. I was surprised this film released in Februrary, a veritable no-man's-land for leisurely paced intellectual thrillers like this one, where Cooper and Phillippe's performances will go almost certainly unnoticed by Academy voters, and where it will make absoltely zero at the box office, but for movie-goers like me who have closed the book on 2006, and find themselves frustrated by the lull of decent flicks out there, this one shines like a rare jewel, a diamond in the increasingy repulsive rough.
A wonderful screenplay coupled with Chris Cooper's histrionics makes this film notable. The story revolves around nailing the FBI traitor Richard Hansen. Inspired by a true story, the film goes about revealing the true mask of Hansen who had compromised scores of FBI agents and informers in his 20 years with the soviet desk. Ryan Phillips is the man appointed to tail Hansen as his assiatant. The initial scenes where an upright Hansen with his penchant for religion and his advices to Ryan to keep away from drinks and to pray more are interesting. Chris Cooper has sizzled in his role as Robert Hansen. The scene were he taunts the photographer for scheduling his photo-op without notice and gets away from the session is fantastic so are the scenes where he asks Ryan Phillips to take a look at a porno movie that he has been watching. Chris Cooper's expressions and mannerisms are a treat to watch. It is his movie from the start. Laura Linney sizzles in the scenes where she appears especially the one where she advices Ryan stating that she doesn't even have a cat in her house. The screenplay is well paced and never makes you wince. A out and out entertainment thriller. Never miss it :up:
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