Review written on: January 18th, 2007

Breach Review

Based on the true story of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, this film delves into how the Bureau trailed and arrested one of their own for one of the worse cases of espionage in U.S. history.

Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is a fresh faced newbie at the FBI, hoping to rise through the ranks to make Agent. He mainly deals with terrorist cases, involving a lot of computers and gadgets. He is brought into a main office at the FBI by Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney) to spy on Hanssen (Chris Cooper), who the Bureau believes has been selling government secrets to the Russians for approximately 15 years. Now, Hanssen has had a very impressive 25-year career there, which makes it all the more bizarre that he would be pulling a fast one on all of them. She emphasizes to Eric that no one is to know about the case, not even his wife (Caroline Dhavernas).

She then delves into Hanssen’s background: he is a staunch Catholic and devoted family man, seems to be an upstanding citizen. The kicker? He’s little bit kinky.

So, Eric reports to Hanssen’s new office as his clerk, and you could cut the tension with a chainsaw. Hanssen’s a total hard-ass and jerk and somewhat paranoid, but his knowledge and ability to read people makes it crystal clear that he was made for the FBI. Despite his brilliant mind, we find out Hanssen is not above checking out porno on the Internet or videotaping his romps with his wife (presumably without her knowledge) and putting them in the mail. All Eric has to do is keep his cool and try to find out whatever info he can to break the case wide open. That’s a bit difficult, considering who he?s tracking.

Despite the fact that when the case broke, it was all over the news, this movie failed to deliver the goods on such an unbelievable story. There wasn’t that much of the sitting -on- the edge-of-your-seat feeling you would expect from a really good spy thriller. One or two moments, tops. I wasn’t terribly impressed by it. The performances weren’t that great and the action dragged for a considerable amount of time.

You may want to wait and rent this one when it comes out on DVD. I wouldn?t exactly run to the theater to see it right now. In the meantime, if you?re really curious about the man that pulled this off for so many years, do a little research on the Internet. There’s definitely more to this case than the film lets on.


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