Movie Details: View Here
Breaching The Truth: Get an Insider's Look at How Robert Hanssen's Story Was Brought to the Screen.
Anatomy of a Character: A Powerful Look at How Chris Cooper Became Robert Hanssen for the Film.
The Mole (As Originally Aired on Dateline 3/05/01): Uncover More Intriguing Facts About Double Agent Robert Hanssen in this In-Depth Profile.
Feature Commentary: With Writer/Director Billy Ray and Former FBI Operative Eric O'Neill.
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: Spanish, French
Run Time: 111 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
Inspired by the incredible true story of the greatest security breach in U.S. intelligence history, Breach is a spellbinding thriller starring Academy Award winner Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Academy Award nominee Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert. 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).
I am usually a fan of espionage, and when the story is based on actual events, it becomes that much more intriguing. So when I heard that "Breach" is based on Robert Hanssen (the biggest spy in US history), I was excited to check out the film. Unfortunately, this is where the excitement ended, since the filmmakers felt free to twist the facts into, what they consider, a better story. In real life, Hanson is an extremely complicated character, who committed acts unlike anything the US government has seen before. But apparently, his story is just not that interesting for the movie-going public.
A few minutes into the film, I realized that the real events were fudged with, and I just tried to enjoy the movie for what it is. It starts out with Ryan Phillippe's character (Eric O'Neill), who is offered to be put on the fast-track into the FBI, but only if he helps catch his boss participating in pornographic activity. His boss is of coarse Hanssen, played by Chris Cooper, and what O'Neill quickly figures out, is that this has nothing to do with pornography, but something much bigger. So now, we have two characters, who spend countless hours with each other, and are forced to alter their personalities and put on a happy face, as to not be caught by the other.
While the film moved pretty nicely and kept me on the edge of my seat, it also had some ridiculous scenes that made me yell out "C'mon!" When O'Neill meets Hanssen for the first time, he is asked to come up with several true statements about himself and one false one. Hanssen would then proceed to pic that false statement, which he does and makes sure to add that he considers himself a human lie-detector. At this point, I'm thinking to myself... "How is O'Neill going to spy on his boss, when the man can detect lies?" Well, apparently he can't and throughout most of the movie, O'Neill gave him some of the most ridiculous stories I have ever heard, yet Hanssen bought into them immediately.
Outside of those several scenes, the complex relationship set up for big suspense, and the film delivers. On top of that the bonus material delivers as well. There is a commentary with director Billy Ray and Eric O'Neill (Phillippe's character), which is exactly what I was looking for, as O'Neill sheds some light on what really happened with Hanssen. In addition, there are plenty of cast interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, alternate scenes and much more. Finally, there is an NBC Dateline segment, entitled "The Mole," about the capture of Hanssen. It is a detailed and factual account of how Hanssen was eventually brought to justice.
As much as I wish the filmmakers stuck to the actual story, the movie actually turned out pretty good. There is lots of suspense, amazing acting (especially Cooper) and great bonus material for anyone interested in getting more information on Hanssen. It was a fun ride from beginning to end, and I recommend this one over some of the other espionage pics that have been released in the last few years.