Breach

"Very Good"

Breach Review


Moving briskly from equivocator Stephen Glass to the chairman of the Benedict Arnold Fan Club, Robert Hanssen, director Billy Ray turns his tonal focus from Shattered Glass's journalistic felony to high crime in the intelligence agency. In what seems to be a new trend of cinematically capturing events before they have actually played out, Breach reenacts what is widely accepted as the greatest fracture of FBI security in the history of the organization.

Following possible terrorists and their contacts, Eric O'Neil (Ryan Phillipe) eagerly tries to discuss bureau protocol with his team, only to be ignored and have his well-prepared report on the subject shoved back in his face. That is, until he is dragged into a bureau conference room on a Sunday to meet with his superior and head agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney). It's here that O'Neil is asked to shadow Russian intelligence specialist Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) for what is originally agreed to be sexually perverse activities. It isn't till O'Neil is taken under wing by the intelligence expert that Burroughs reveals that Hanssen has actually been selling information to the Russians for some time and has cost the government billions of dollars and uncountable agent lives.

Though not without its one-liners and a panorama of politically-current quips, Breach delicately solidifies the tone and urgency of Billy Ray's first film, Shattered Glass. The severity of the crime of course behooves Breach to be a more serious and suspenseful film than Shattered Glass, but it's in the calmer scenes that Ray best shows his maturation in style. In a devastatingly simple scene, Hanssen talks about his father with O'Neil, gently implying his father's psychological games while also ignoring the fact that O'Neil has been snooping on his home computer. The scene is calibrated to perfection, introducing and concluding several notes without blatantly addressing them in the speech.

The scene's success, and indeed the film's success, has much to do with the actors chosen for the part: Cooper's reliable stoic intensity and brooding emotional weight has never been as palpable as it is here, and Phillipe excels at bringing equal measures of nervy admiration, fear, and hidden professionalism to the role of O'Neil. Linney doesn't do anything above-and-beyond, but when she explains her isolationism as so extreme that "I don't even own a cat!" it's a moment of pure humor that's hard to resist.

A new style in cinema has turned the espionage thriller into something that stresses the quiet moments over superfluous explosions. Though it wasn't fully successful in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepard, it finds fertile ground in Breach where the villain isn't some crazed euro-trash dynamo with ten guns more than he needs. Here, the bad guy is a neglected right-wing grandfather and family man who thinks he's an unappreciated genius. For all intents and purposes, the outer shell of Hanssen is what most family-oriented men strain to become. Real or not, the story being told in Breach vibrantly echoes current fears and alludes that all our blame and reasoning might be pointed in the wrong direction.

A little espionage under the covers.



Breach

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th February 2007

Box Office USA: $33.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $33.2M

Distributed by: Universal Studios

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Intermedia Films, Outlaw Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 147 Rotten: 29

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Robert F. Newmyer

Starring: as Robert Hanssen, as Eric O´Neill, as Kate Burroughs, as Dan Plesac, as Juliana O´Neill, as Bonnie Hanssen, as Rich Garces, as John O'Neill, Reagan Pasternak as Beautiful Reporter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.