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Breach (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD)
• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a standard-definition DVD player, Blu-ray player, or PS3.
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic film. It very much comes from the old school, where it's just well-drawn characters played by good actors performing a good script. Read morePublished 16 days ago by D. Lee
The story was just okay. It's worth seeing , but not a movie you will watch more than once.Published 27 days ago by Edward Hankin
Every American and every person that believes in personal freedom, and liberty should see this movie. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Taurus
I have seen this movie twice now. It is suspenseful, keeping me watching intently to the very end.Published 1 month ago by Thin Woman
MAKE NO MISTAKE: THIS IS NOT EVEN AN ACTION MOVIE.
This highlights the personalities of the characters, and their opinions. Read more
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