Breach is a 2007 spy thriller film co-written and directed by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Secret in Their Eyes, The Last Tycoon, and The Comey Rule). The film is based on the true story of Robert Hanssen. It was co-written by William L. Rotko (The Beast, The Firm, The Last Ship, and The Good Doctor) and Adam Mazer (You Don’t Know Jack and Empire State). It was produced by Sidney Kimmel (Greta, Hell or High Water, 9½ Weeks, Alpha Dog, Death at a Funeral, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Synecdoche, New York). The budget was $23 million and it grossed $41 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Eric O’Neill (played by: Ryan Phillippe from Crash, Cruel Intentions, 54, and I Know What You Did Last Summer) is a young FBI employee assigned to work undercover as a clerk to Robert Hanssen (played by: Chris Cooper from American Beauty, Adaptation, Bourne franchise, and The Town), a senior agent he is told is suspected of being a sexual deviant. Hanssen has been recalled from a detail post at the State Department to FBI headquarters ostensibly to head up a new division specializing in Information Assurance. Initially, Hanssen insists on a strict formality between the two men. He frequently rails against the bureaucracy of the FBI and complains that only those who regularly “shoot guns” are considered for senior positions instead of those, like himself, who are involved in vital national security matters. Hanssen becomes a friend and mentor to O’Neill.
He starts to take a personal interest in him and his wife Juliana (played by: Caroline Dhavernas from Hannibal, Mary Kills People, Hollywoodland, and The Pacific). O’Neill finds no evidence of Hanssen leading a secret double life and develops a growing respect for his boss, leading him to confront his handler in the undercover assignment Kate Burroughs (played by: Laura Linney from Ozark, Primal Fear, The Truman Show, and Mystic River). That’s when he finds out the real reason that he’s been assigned to the the older agent. Hanssen is suspected of having spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for years and being responsible for the deaths of agents working for the United States. The entire Information Assurance Division that Hanssen now heads was created specifically to lure him away from his previous job as liaison to the State Department, and his office was specially constructed with hidden surveillance equipment. The investigation already includes fifty agents, and is personally overseen by FBI Director Louis Freeh (played by: Scott McCulloch from Blood Empires and Tribulation). The FBI has gather enough evidence to make an arrest on him but they are determined to catch Hanssen in the act of making a drop. The young O’Neill is torn between his new mentor and his dangerous assignment. Can he take down the man that’s trained him or is it all mistaken identity with bad intentions from FBI management looking to retire this senior agent for good????
Breach is a solid spy thriller and drama hybrid. It tells the real life story of disgraced FBI agent Robert Hanssen. The script is great for this, the characters are fully developed and the build up is solid here. Chris Cooper is one of the best character actors working in cinema today. He takes on this complicated role with ease. Robert Hanssen had many different sides to him so you never knew what version would get from him day to day. He was great in Breach and it’s honestly one of his most under-appreciated performances. Ryan Phillippe had solid chemistry with him and he was good as the agent trying to bring down the senior member of the FBI. At first, he goes into the job with the mission in mind but it all changes when he gets to know his target on a personal level. This is one of his more challenging roles when he was very popular back then. Breach has a high quality supporting cast that includes Laura Linney, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole (A Simple Plan), Dennis Haysbert (Heat), Kathleen Quinlan (The Hills have Eyes), and Bruce Davison (Dahmer). This one is more of a mind game suspense than actual action but it does have it’s thrills. Breach has great replay value and it still holds up today, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer appears be the same as Universal’s release from last year. Breach originally had an HD DVD when they were testing out the format in 2007 along with a standard DVD. It’s one of the better HD presentations from Mill Creek recently but don’t expect reference quality but at the same time it looks damn good for an older catalog title. The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is actually better than expected. It has a nice boost at times. All of the dialogue is very clean, the suspense is elevated, and the music is the highlight here when it comes to audio. It has English SDH subtitles. If you still own the original DVD, you might want to hold on to it for the special features because none of them were ported over for this brand new blu ray home video release. Unfortunately, it’s bare bones. This Mill Creek version is much much much cheaper than last year’s Universal blu ray & they are the same. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!