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BREACH by Billy Ray


Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is a junior FBI employee who wants to be promoted to agent. Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney) offers him a chance – he is assigned to work for Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) but in fact shall observe Hanssen and find evidence for sexually deviant behavior. But this is just a cover story – the FBI is sure Hanssen is a spy who has sold US secrets to Russia since years, and they want to catch him in the act.
But Eric doesn’t find anything suspicious – Hanssen doesn’t drink, he goes to church every day and believes in faith, family and his country. He develops respect for Hanssen, who becomes kind of his mentor, but he feels uneasy when Hanssen invades his private life and his job – the secretiveness and constant lies – starts to interfere with his relationship to his wife Juliana (Caroline Dhavernas).

Breach is a spy-film but definitly not a spy-thriller, based on true events. While the real Robert Hanssen claimed he did it for money when he was caught, in the film money is at most a secondary motive. Hanssen is a man who feels his talents and work are not appreciated the way they should be, and despite seeing himself as a man of faith and integrity is willing to betray his country mainly for the satisfaction of proving to himself that he’s important after all. It’s thanks to Chris Cooper’s ace portrayal of a highly intelligent, deeply religious man who is so convinced of his own righteousness that he doesn’t recognize he behaves like a sullen child that Breach is worth watching – because despite a bit of hollywoodizing the facts there is not much going on in the movie, just two men watching each other while pretending to work together. And while Chris Cooper is fantastic and fascinating to watch, Ryan Phillippe is merely OK as the rookie who tries to earn his spurs but still has to find out if it’s worth the price.

Breach Movie Trailer

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