This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
November 2nd, 2006:
Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe
) has just landed a dream job as a full-fledged FBI agent and has been handpicked to work under renowned operative Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper
) within a new division created to protect all classified FBI intelligence. In actuality, he is working under Special Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney
) and Special Agent Dan Plesac (Dennis Haysbert
), who have been investigating Hanssen as a potential mole for the Soviet Union. Their case is of grave importance given the type of information he has access to. O’Neil must gain his new mentor’s trust in hopes that the traitor will eventually expose himself. Soon, O’Neil is risking his life as well as the life of his family as he and Hanssen become tangled in a dangerous game that pits them against one another.What to Expect:
The story of Robert Hanssen and his treason is true and has even been dubbed as “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history.” He sold the first bit of top-secret information to the Soviets in 1979 and then continued to do so over a 15-year period, earning $1.4 million in cash and diamonds along the way. Many of his peers considered him a mediocre agent, but he was sharp enough to keep himself from getting caught for a substantial amount of time and his techniques in keeping his identity secret from his Soviet handlers have actually been described as quite brilliant. Once communism in the Soviet Union disintegrated, American authorities were greatly aided by the opening of KGB archives, which contained a complete file on Hanssen. He was eventually arrested in February of 2001, convicted, and sentenced to life in a maximum-security prison without the possibility of parole. His cooperation with the authorities was the only thing that spared him from the death penalty. Article continues below
The film is based on a story titled “The Eleventh Hour” written by first-time screenwriters Adam Mazer and Bill Rotko. Writer-director Billy Ray
, whose last credit is the screenplay for the Hitchcockian thriller Flightplan, took their script and rewrote it. His only other directorial effort is the ingenious Shattered Glass, which dealt with a similar true story of moral corruption, namely a journalist’s rise to fame through reporting that was entirely fabricated. With Breach, Ray will once again examine ethics and integrity.
The casting in Breach is excellent and the film has the potential to become a compelling actor’s piece. Indeed, early screenings have generated very positive buzz about the performances. Reportedly, everyone does a stellar job with their roles. While Ryan Phillipe has supposedly never been better, Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation.) has apparently turned in another brilliant performance. His Robert Hanssen is a relatively good man – a sympathetic figure, despite the treachery. In fact, the film does not take the stereotypical “good guy” vs. “bad guy” approach, but rather a far more nuanced attitude toward the subject and the characters. Everyone’s actions are portrayed as at least somewhat morally objectionable.
Breach is going to be a very low-key movie. A spy film very much unlike the Mission: Impossible
or James Bond
franchises. Reportedly there are no car chases, no shootouts, and no villains with desires for world domination. It’s strictly espionage, intrigue, and interplay between the characters and that’s a relief in today’s movie climate. Although the outcome is known in advance, the film still reportedly generates a lot of suspense by staying firmly grounded in the dangerous reality of the situation and by showing it from the point of view of Ryan Phillipe’s young and inexperienced character. While at times the spy games are said to become quite elaborate, they are never cartoonish and the filmmaking is appropriately restrained.
On the other hand, some have complained that since Breach is based on a true story, it feels a bit flat and predictable. There have been rumors that while the key espionage scenes are quite fascinating, other subplots feel unnecessary. For example, the portrayal of O’Neill’s home life is fairly clichéd and the side story of his wife’s suspicions is intrusive to the general tone of the movie. Still, the majority of the early comments have been decidedly positive.In Conclusion:
Nothing fancy here. Breach is for anyone that can appreciate a restrained spy thriller without the big-budget special effects. I think that most moviegoers will not even notice when this flick hits the big screen, but it should be a fantastic alternative for the adult audience seeking a more mature Hollywood production. There is no doubt that it will feel a bit imperfect with a few unnecessary subplots that probably only detract from the tension, but it seems like the type of movie that will be genuinely engaging from start to finish.Similar Titles: The Hunted
, Shattered Glass
, Quiz Show