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Breach 2007

PG-13 CC

Inspired by the true story of the greatest security breach in U.S. intelligence history, this gripping thriller stars Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert.

Starring:
Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillipe
Runtime:
1 hour, 50 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Billy Ray
Starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillipe
Supporting actors Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole, Bruce Davison, Kathleen Quinlan
Studio Universal Pictures
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Comment 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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