Saturday, September 22, 2007

Breach, directed by Billy Ray [3]

***/***** (3/5)

While I'm engrossed in Wilbur Smith's RIVER GOD: A NOVEL OF ANCIENT EGYPT, I wanted to share my reaction to BREACH. I caught it on DVD a couple weeks ago and though it was slow-developing, I thought it was good. Chris Cooper was magnificent playing FBI senior agent Robert Hanssen.

Hailed as the single greatest security breach in U.S. history, BREACH portrays the factually-based betrayal and consequent conviction of grizzly FBI veteran Robert Hanssen. There's some weird moments in the movie, like Hanssen's interest in porn and young women, most notably his young partner's wife played by Caroline Dhavernas. Hanssen's religious nature was also a bit bizarre, but all of the irregularities in his nature mysteriously framed the persona of a man in the most clandestine levels of government betraying his own country. Ryan Phillippe plays the part of the upstart, young FBI agent partnered with Hanssen to uncover the evidence which will ultimately prove how Hanssen has been selling secrets to the Soviet Union for over 25 years.

I thought Ryan Phillippe was miscast, they needed a much stronger actor than what he offers to the table. There's a scene at the end where Chris Cooper's character Hanssen is intimidating Phillippe with a gun, and Phillippe's acting left something to be desired. Chris Cooper was amazing, and just like AMERICAN BEAUTY, he just exudes a palpable aura of depravity and mystery.

The movie is an actor's movie, extremely light on the action. If it wasn't so slow-developing and Ryan Phillippe's presence, this movie would have scored higher.

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