Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!

Breach February 23, 2007
Studio: Universal Pictures
Rating: PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language.

Based on the true story of one of the greatest security failures in American history, the spy caper "Breach" tells the story of Robert Hanssen. He was an FBI counterintelligence agent charged with protecting this country's citizens and its secrets.

However, Hanssen was arrested in 2001 and accused of spying for the Soviet Union.

"Breach" covers the final months of the FBI investigation launched to bring Hanssen down. Chris Cooper plays the traitorous agent. Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is a young FBI employee assigned to Hanssen as his aide. Originally. O'Neill is told Hanssen is a sexual deviant. But the truth eventually comes out as his handler Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney) lays out the case against Hanssen.

It's O'Neill's job to get the smoking gun to allow the FBI to move in on the traitor. He determines the evidence he needs is on Hanssen's PDA. Now all he has to do is how to figure out how to get it from a device Hanssen never leaves unattended.

"Breach" is not just a very good spy movie. It's a good film, period.

There are a couple of reasons I found it so appealing. The fact that it's based on a true story and the performances of both Cooper and Phillippe.

Cooper is simply outstanding as Hanssen. His portrayal takes you deep inside the mind of the traitor. Instead of a one-note character, Hanssen is portrayed as a complicated, brilliant individual who somehow rationalizes his criminal actions. A strong family man who is deeply religious, Hanssen is a multi-faceted person.

In many scenes Phillippe goes head to head with Cooper and comes out just fine. The younger man's struggle with his assignment and the lies he's forced to tell come across very clearly.

"Breach" moves well and keeps your interest. Even if you know how this story ends the film holds you until the final frame.

On my rating scale, "Breach" hits a Triple.

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