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

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

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.