Saturday, April 14, 2007

Movie Review: Breach

“I’m much safer if you know little about me.”
Robert Hanssen is probably right.
But that is exactly why we want to know about him, the man behind the United States worst security breach.

For 22 years, this man, a FBI agent evaded getting caught.
He single handedly sold American secrets to the Soviet Union in exchange for $1.4million in cash and diamonds.
With all his smarts he was finally brought down on 18 Feb 2001, by a rookie, Eric O’Neill.
It took just 2 months and Hanssen’s days of espionage was over, end of story.
Big question. Why was he caught?

This is where it begins.
Robert Hanssen played by Academy Award winner (Best Supporting Actor), Chris Cooper, is the main character for this film titled Breach.
This movie is inspired by a true story, the true story about the worst security breach in United States history.
Oh sorry, I’ve already mentioned it.
If you’re paying attention, I’ve succeeded in breaching into your mind. Read on.

No doubt it has already been said and done, Robert Hanssen has done and has been undone.
This movie shows not what he did nor was it really about how Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe) the rookie, bringing him to justice.
What am I talking about? Are you thinking yet?

This film won’t show you what and how Hanssen did it.
This film won’t leave you in suspense as to how O’Neill did it.
There are few actions, thrills and excitement.
But the dialogues will keep this film going.
Kate Burroughs, the FBI staffer in charge of O’Neill needs to figure things out.
Eric O’Neill, the rookie agent who is key to the success of the investigation needs to figure things out.
Robert Hanssen, the man being investigated needs to figure things out.
That leaves just you left to figure this movie out.

A good film needs no shouting to capture your attention.
It will put you in the mood instead.
The mood of this film is slow, steady and calm.
It gives you enough space to think about Hanssen.
This film is about who Hanssen is.
What kind of a man would betray his own country?

Chris Cooper did a brilliant job bringing out Hanssen’s character.
That itself defined Breach.
This is a thinker’s film so try not to fall asleep.
Without close attention you could fail to secure the meaning of the film.
You’ll need to get to a certain depth before you can start swimming.
Playing on the surface won’t get you anywhere.
Think about the word breach and what it has got to do with Hanssen’s character.

Robert Hanssen knew something that we all don’t.
Eric O’Neill asked Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney), “What if he’s smarter than I am?”
She replied, “He spent the last 20 years out-thinking Russian spies. He’s smarter than all of us.”
Hanssen was spared the death penalty but is serving life in prison.
When he was caught he said this, “Perhaps now they’ll listen.”
Will you listen?

Breach has a strong leading cast in Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney and equally good supporting cast in Dennis Haysbert, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole and Kathleen Quinlan.
The directing (Billy Ray) and art direction (Tak Fujimoto) is masterful as it brought out the mood of the film.
Much credit also has to go to the writers and producers.
Their experience behind films like Training Day, The Last Samurai and Shattered Glass served Breach well.
The same can be said for the music composition by Mychael Danna.
I’ll say this again. The movie doesn’t shout, it speaks softly yet surely, immersing its audience into its mood.
Still water runs deep.

It is as if portraying how Hanssen committed the worst breach in United States history.
This film has no interest in making headlines, just history.

Movie link:

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