Friday, February 19, 2016

Breach (2007)

Director: Billy Ray

Writers: Adam Mazer, William Rotko, Billy Ray

Composer: Mychael Danna

Starring: Chris Cooper,  Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole, Dennis Haysbert, Kathleen Quinlan, Bruce Davison, Jonathan Watton, Tom Barnett

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Inspired by the true story of the greatest security breach in U.S. history.

Plot: FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was put on trial for selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.  Twice is fine.

I last saw this in the theater.  Back then I was a budding fan of Chris Cooper and his role in this and the story are what drove me to see it.  He's a great actor and he brings a lot to this picture.  It's a good thriller with some performances and a couple of tense moments.  What I liked most was not the attempts and drumming up tension but what Cooper brought to the role.  You're never sure if Hanssen (Cooper) is onto O'Neill (Phillippe) which for me was the driving force in the success of the film.   You find out by the end but it's a great game up until then.  I was bothered by Laura Linney's performance as O'Neill's boss, Kate Burroughs.  She bursts on the scene as a ball-busting, crass and curt cunt of a woman when it comes to her treatment of O'Neill.  Either she was too good at her job (Linney in the role) and this is how her character was or she was over the top or it was a combination of that and the editing for her first scene with O'Neill.  She mellows out to be more caring and likable by the end but that first encounter is too awkward not to throw up a couple of red flags that something was wrong with that scene.  But it's just that one scene I have a problem with.  I dig the cast, the performances, the pacing and overall execution of the film.  It's a good thriller that shouldn't be overlooked.  That it's based on a true story is remarkable already.  I'm going to cut loose of the DVD as I'll probably never get around to the director's commentary along side the real O'Neill.  I'm sure it's fascinating but I've got thousands of movies staring me in the face that I should watch first.  Nuts.  In addition to the commentary, the Universal DVD has a bunch of extras including 8 deleted scenes with optional commentary from Ray and editor Jeffrey Ford, 2 alternate scenes with optional commentary from the same pair, two featurettes on the making of the film (17 minutes in total with one of them "Brought to you by Volkswagon"...THE FUCK?) and a 19 minute segment from the show DATELINE (from 3/5/01, days after the arrest of Hanssen) which is painful to watch as the host of the piece (I don't recognize this guy) is overacting his ass off.  The information is great but his delivery is laughably dramatic as all get out.

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