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Breach (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD)

351 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award winner Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Academy Award nominee Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert star in this spellbinding thriller. Eric O'Neill (Phillippe) is assigned to work with renowned operative Robert Hanssen (Cooper), the sole subject of a long-term, top-secret investigation. Determined to draw this suspected double-agent out of deep cover, O'Neill finds himself in a lethal game of spy vs. spy, where nothing is as it seems. Critics are hailing Breach as "electrifying" (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) and "suspenseful" (Ty Burr, The Boston Globe).

Is a mystery really mysterious when the end isn't a secret? Is espionage still thrilling when you know beforehand that the cloak has been pulled back and the dagger revealed? If it's a film as good as Breach, the answer is a resounding yes. Here is a true story that's genuinely stranger than fiction: FBI agent Robert Hanssen spent over 20 years selling government secrets to the Russians, making him the most egregious traitor in U.S. history. He was an Opus Dei Catholic and a devout churchgoer who was also a sexual deviant, a straitlaced company man so trusted by his employers that they once appointed him to lead an investigation designed to reveal who the spy was--when in fact it was Hanssen himself. And in the end, he was brought down in part by 26-year-old Eric O'Neill, an agent-in-training who worked with him for just two months. Chris Cooper, a 2003 supporting actor Oscar winner for Adaptation, is brilliant in the lead role, playing Hanssen as a dour, cold, ultraconservative cipher (women in pantsuits are just one of his peeves) whose conversations more closely resemble interrogations. Ryan Phillippe is also excellent as O'Neill, who's initially kept in the dark by the superior (Laura Linney) who assigned him to help expose Hanssen's treachery; thinking he's been brought in only to gather evidence about his boss' sexual transgressions, O'Neill finds himself caught in a profound moral conundrum, grudgingly admiring Hanssen even as his own marriage is severely tested by the older man's creepy and hypocritical intrusion into their lives, not to mention the FBI's strict rules against discussing the case.

Director Billy Ray (whose previous feature was also a true story: Shattered Glass, about the young writer who fabricated stories for The New Republic) and co-screenwriters Adam Mazer and William Rotko do an extraordinary job of maintaining the tension as the story leads to the conclusion that's been revealed in the first few frames (i.e., Hanssen's arrest in February 2001); the exquisite torture of O'Neill's having to keep Hanssen distracted while Bureau technicians search the latter's car is but one example. Moreover, notwithstanding the plot developments, the filmmakers manage to keep their focus on the personal interactions that are the film's key element: the relationships that O'Neill maintains with Hanssen, his father (a cameo by Bruce Davison), his wife (Caroline Dhavernas), and others are entirely credible. At once fascinating and horrifying, Breach is inarguably one of the best films of 2007. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Writer/Director Billy Ray and Editor Jeffrey Ford
  • Breaching the Truth
  • Anatomy of a Character Brought to You by Volkswagen
  • "The Mole" as originally aired on Dateline 03/05/01
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Billy Ray and Former FBI Operative Eric O'Neil
  • Picture in Picture - Access behind-the-scenes footage and video commentary with director Billy Ray and former real-life FBI operative Eric O'Neill, all without interrupting your movie experience.
  • Alternate Scenes wtih Optional Commentary by Writer/Director Billy Ray and Editor Jeffrey Ford
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Billy Ray and Former FBI Operative Eric O'Neill

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, Caroline Dhavernas
    • Directors: Billy Ray
    • Writers: Billy Ray, Adam Mazer, William Rotko
    • Producers: Bobby Newmyer, Scott Strauss, Scott Kroopf
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
    • Run Time: 222 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (351 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000OYAT4E
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,372 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Breach (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    86 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Michael Walter on June 19, 2007
    Format: DVD
    Breach is a nerve-wracking thriller. Based on a true story, its characters are nearly archetypical, a fact that gives the film, along with its extensive moral ambiguities, haunting power. Here, it's impossible to get away from the big themes: religion, sexuality, psychology, and professionalism are at full and merciless play.

    The film is plot and character-driven, without any special effects gloss. Most of it consists of dialogue between Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) and Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe). O'Neill is assigned to keep tabs on Hanssen, providing detailed reports to Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney). Mysterious deadlines loom, and Hanssen, a veteran of Cold War politics, is a tad suspicious of all the goings-on. Hanssen and O'Neill move from room to room, situation to situation; each scene adds a layer of suspense. Further, both men have intriguing and complex moral selves. These selves are illuminated via startling combinations of beliefs and personality traits.

    Cooper is amazing as Hanssen. To my mind, he's one of the most fascinating of today's male screen personas, communicating a visible emotional depth and intensity that's fraught with ragged edges. Ryan Phillippe subtly and thoroughly transforms himself through mannerism, voice, and expression. Linney's Burroughs is, on the surface, as hard as nails; a more complicated personality is suggested when she delivers a few moments of much-needed humor, without which the film would be unbearable.

    Director Billy Ray has made a film that's polished from start to finish. He and the screenwriters tell the story dispassionately, clinically; they give it an ambiance of objectivity but delay final revelations and easy summaries.
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    Format: DVD
    When Robert Hanssen was arrested in 2001 for espionage, he was the biggest betrayer of his country in United States history. He was also one of the very few who did it for reasons other than money. "Breach" introduces us to Hanssen and the world that he inhabited at the F.B.I. through the story of Eric O'Neill, who spent 2 months working closely with Hanssen in order to obtain evidence against him. This account is fictionalized in some aspects, but it strives to be a character study of sharp, duplicitous Hanssen as well as a tense, compelling drama. F.B.I. surveillance operative Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is assigned by Special Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney) to work under Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper), a talented 25-year veteran agent, allegedly in order to find evidence that Hanssen is a pornographer. Eric comes to respect Hanssen's maverick ways and insight in spite of his gruff, threatening manner and eventually questions the case against his boss.

    The scenario is naturally suspenseful: Hanssen is a master of deception, so deceiving him is a challenge. Eric learns to exploit Hanssen's ego and his obsessive religiosity -he was a member of Opus Dei- to gain his trust. The situation is urgent. The Bureau must catch Hanssen red-handed, selling secrets to the Russians, before he retires in a few months. "Breach"'s brilliance is in its layered presentation of Hanssen and his professional life. We know the outcome but are captivated by the finer points. The characters constantly lie to disguise their agendas. Hanssen is right about many things, but his ideals are at the mercy of his overwhelming spite and egoism. Hanssen would be a distasteful character even if he were not a spy whose actions resulted in 3 deaths.
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    117 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 18, 2007
    Format: DVD
    I served as a spy for CIA on three clandestine tours, and one of my headquarters tours was in counterintelligence, where I got to know just how un-seriously CIA takes that topic. The dirty little secret at CIA is that Ames was not the only traitor, a brand new career trainee gave up ten or so of our Soviet agents in place, all killed. In this movie, the damage that Hansen did is severely over-stated, and the facts of the matter are not as they should be, but I still give this a five star rating because the movies is absolutely top notch on the personality details.

    This movie is much superior to The Good Shepard. The only other spy movies that really come close are those featuring Alec Guiness as George Smiley.

    The reviewers that cannot understand motive will never understand spys and traitors. One line in this movie really grabbed me--in it, Hansen talks about how "the US can be likened to a powerfully built but retarded child." Throughout the movie, Hansen is cast as a devout even obsessive Catholic who cannot get people inside the FBI to realize how vulnerable they are, and ultimately I would conclude from the movie that the motivation may have started as a desire to prove a point, then a slow burn into addiction--making fools of those that would not listen.

    The movie misrepresents the clerk as counter-spy. The FBI actually caught Hansen by going through his trash and finding the one note that he failed to destroy. Still and all the individual depictions, from the hardened solitary female senior special agent with no one in her life, not even a cat, to various others, are excellent.
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Why do they keep bringing out Combo HD DVD/Standard DVDs?
    Read the HD DVD Planet Earth reviews and you will find out why. Start with the worst reviews first.
    Jun 13, 2007 by RC |  See all 2 posts
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