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Breach 2007


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In 2001, FBI trainee Eric O‚Neill (Ryan Phillippe) starts work under the Bureau‚s computer wizard Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper), with secret orders to check on his internet habits. He‚s soon told Hanssen is the target of an espionage investigation.

Laura Linney, Chris Cooper
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Product Details

  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 50 minutes
Starring Laura Linney, Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Gary Cole, Jonathan Watton, Bruce Davison, Kathleen Quinlan, Dennis Haysbert, Caroline Dhavernas
Director Billy Ray
Genres Drama, Thriller
Rental release 8 February 2008
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Peter Collier on 1 May 2008
Format: DVD
Chris Cooper stars as an ageing FBI officer with a dark secret, and Ryan Phillipe as the young agent aiming to uncover it. It is based on the true story of the treacherous agent Robert Hanssen, the most dangerous mole ever to be employed by the US government.
Unusually for a modern thriller, the director employs lingering shots and builds up the tension without using fast edit techniques so that we focus on the characters and not just the action.
The spare, uncluttered interiors are reminiscent of Hitchcock's film "Vertigo" or of scenes from the work of artist Edward Hopper, where lonely figures inhabit barely furnished rooms. Whether this was the director's intention or not, the sparsely-populated sets serve to keep the viewer focused, even transfixed, upon the characters, rather than their surroundings. Thus our absorption with them means that we are drawn into the story, so that we ourselves move from being spectators and are drawn into the hushed and secretive world of cold war espionage.
The title Breach signposts the major theme of trust within personal and corporate relationsips. This is not only seen in Chris Cooper's character and the betrayal of his country but also in Ryan Philippe as he, under orders, builds a close (almost father-son) relationship with his superior as a means of gathering information on his activities. Philippe's character, taken under the wing of his colleague and even welcomed into his home, then struggles with his own betrayal of their friendship. Meanwhile, sworn to secrecy and unable to tell his wife of what is happening, he finds his own marriage under stress as her trust of him starts to crumble.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By deadteddy VINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
What a brilliant film, saw this just a few days ago and to be honest I wasn't really expecting a whole lot from it. After only seeing the first 20 mins I had completely changed my mind and knew that this was going to be engaging, entertaining and intelligent.

Chris Cooper is superb as a rogue FBI agent Robert Hanssen while Ryan Phillipe is captivating as the new kid on the block brought in to keep an eye on him.

If you like thrillers and intelligent films then this is certainly for you and is certainly made more interesting knowing that the events in the film are based on reality. This isn't a glitzy hollywood bombs and car chase film this is the tension building thriller that has a good story to tell with characters that you care about. I recommend this film very highly.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jones the Film on 23 Feb. 2008
Format: DVD
For me Chris Cooper is one of America's greatest actors. Often playing second billing to other stars, this film provides him the ideal opportunity to show his acting skills.

Robert Hanssen is an FBI agent who spied for the Russians in the 1980's and again later in the late 1990s. A peculiar character, with apparently strict Jesuit beliefs, he betrayed more than 50 US agents, leading to at least two being assassinated by the Russians.

A junior FBI trainee (Ryan Phillippe) is assigned to spy on him. The film focuses on the relationship between the two men, with the younger agent in awe of the man he is supposed to expose.

An intelligent story based on true events, this is cinema at its very best. Cooper sparkles as the canny Hanssen and Phillippe provides a credible performance as the rookie. The pining wife seemed a tad overplayed (clearly for dramatic effect), but this doesn't distract from a riveting story.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A.Sturgess TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
OK - so let's look at why this film shouldn't be as superb as it is ...

(1) The first few minutes tell you how it's all going to end, so you know what's going to happen even before the main film starts.
(2) There is virtually no action whatsoever in the sense of chases, fights etc. There's a mildly tense scene near the end in a wood at night when a gun is fired, but apart from that - nothing.
(3) The film is mostly dialogue between the two main characters played by Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe, with some other important dialogue such as that between Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney or Ryan Phillipe and Caroline Dhavernas.

So the film should be dull or even boring - but it isn't. Absolutely not. It grabs you from the start and draws you in deeper and deeper as tension builds and you come to care about every single character - even the villain of the piece who is played with intensity and depth by Chris Cooper. The final visual of the film, as lift doors close, is one that you won't forget in a hurry.

I also recommend watching two particular special features on the DVD which explore both the film-making process and the anatomy of a character. They really do show you how exact the film-makers were when it came to getting everything just right: All the people who, in real life, were involved in tracking down the traitor, were not only interviewed but also shown taking part behind the cameras during the filming. Things were done so carefully that the actress playing one character actually wore a copy of the wedding ring worn by the person who had been involved for real in the events being portrayed.

And yet this is not a mere 'True Crime' retelling of events - it is a dramatic film based on a wonderful script with an ensemble of superb actors and actresses. I'd class it as being genuinely 'unmissable'.
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