Review of "Breach" written by Billy Ray, Bill Rotko, and Adam Mazer, directed by Billy Ray
Breach tells the story of how the FBI brought down Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent and soviet spy. The story is told primarily from the viewpoint of Eric O’Neal, who was given the task of documenting Hanssen’s every move over a two month period while The FBI built their case. Eric is played brilliantly by Ryan Phillippe. Chris Cooper does an equally brilliant job portraying Robert Hanssen.
This movie is a character study. There are no Hollywood chase scenes; no body counts. But there is plenty of suspense and intrigue. This is a fact based story that doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks to hold your interest.
Robert Hanssen comes across as a very unlikeable character despite attempts to show him in a more positive light. He has an egocentric personality and believes he is superior to everyone around him, and he treats people accordingly. This is especially true of how he treats Eric, who is assigned as Hanssen’s aid.
At first, Eric is told to keep an eye on Hanssen to track deviant sexual behavior. Only when Eric confronts his superiors about his reluctance to continue is he told the truth about Hanssen. Eric continues to have sympathy for the flawed Hanssen even after his capture. The fact that he declined an opportunity to become an agent and has since left the FBI says a lot about his character.
The DVD contains a number of bonus materials including an audio commentary and a Dateline episode about the real Robert Hanssen. Add this one to your Que.