Breach

"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

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

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.