Tuesday, June 12, 2007

BREACH (Billy Ray, 2006, USA) Based on the true story of Robert Hanssen, the most prolific spy in our Country's history, who sold secrets to the Soviet Union over a period of many years. The problem with this genre is that it over-dramatizes the facts and makes caricatures out of the characters thus filtering the true suspense down to a mundane and forgettable potboiler. Thanks to Chris Cooper, BREACH is not one of those films! Cooper plays traitor Robert Hanssen with equal parts emotional detachment, arrogance, compassion, and madness that he gives the character the depth needed to be believable and partly understand why he betrayed his duty to God and Country. Ryan Phillippe plays the young agent assigned to bring down the ultra-intelligent spy and his acting leaves a bit to be desired. His doe-eyed ignorance and one-dimensional acting actually plays well against Coopers professionalism; the two strike a sublime balance that keeps the suspense and tension taut. The films weaknesses in direction and editing allow us to focus the story with few distractions. (C)

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