Based on actual events, this mesmerising thriller with an all-star cast tells the twisted tale of the FBI’s most notorious double agent, Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper). When rookie Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is assigned to spy on Hanssen, he learns that the devout family man is obsessed with pornography. But, as O’Neill explores more of Hanssen’s covert world, it becomes clear that the stakes are higher, the crimes are more serious, and the betrayal is much deeper than O’Neill could have imagined.
A subtle thriller with an engaging story.
- Breach review by Shatner's Bassoon
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Based on the true story of Robert Hanssen, a 58 year old middle ranking FBI agent who in February 2001 was charged with espionage after selling classified information to the Russians, Breach is an account of the series of events which led up to the exposure of the worst case of treason in the history of U.S intelligence. Told from the point of view of Eric O’Neill, a young ambitious junior officer anxious to become a full FBI agent, who is recruited by FBI investigators to gather information on Hanssen who he is told is secretly under investigation as a sexual deviant. Assigned to Hanssen under the guise of his new personal assistant, all O’Neill finds is a highly opinionated, boastful and often bigoted man who is also devoutly religious. Questioning his role in what he sees as a pointless investigation on a man who is due to retire in a years’ time, O’Neill is told the truth about a continual flow of espionage which they believe has gone back over 15 years. The film is unusual in the sense that the outcome is revealed within 30 seconds of the start of the film, and the story then retells the previous two years leading up to Hassens arrest. Much like Director Billy Ray’s previous film 'Shattered Glass' the story is essentially about ego and how a man passed over for higher profile jobs found other means of making himself feel important and as someone who matters. This is a gently paced thriller which bypasses any over the top action scenes and relies purely on the strength of the story and its lead characters. Overall, this is a well written and directed thriller with great acting and thoroughly engaging from start to end.