guppy's film reviews

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Year: 2007
Director: Billy Ray
Notable Actors: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney
Score: B-
Summary: Decent quasi-documentary on an infamous Cold War intelligence breach.

Breach is a retelling of the story of FBI operative Robert Hanssen, who was convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. While I'm not wholly informed on the subject, I believe that's one of few things that are kept true-to-life; in fact, I'm pretty sure the main character is completely fabricated.

Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity) steals the show as Hanssen, and is the only particularly noteworthy actor in the film. Hanssen himself was a fascinating guy, and Cooper handles the role well. The others -- Phillipe especially -- are serviceable enough, but do little to distinguish themselves.

Unfortunately, there isn't much else to say about the film; it works more despite its assets than because of them. I can't even remember if there was a musical score, and the cinematography is acceptable but not exceptional.

It's hard to know how to rate Breach. I was interested in it, and I know I enjoyed it, but I think that's because I was interested in the real story. There's nothing standout about the script, the audio, the visuals... nothing, really, other than Hanssen. The film's worth seeing, but don't expect to be blown away by anything.


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