In February, 2001, Robert Hanssen, a senior agent with 25 years in the FBI, is arrested for spying. Jump back two months: Eric O'Neill, a computer specialist who wants to be made an agent is assigned to clerk for Hanssen and to write down everything Hanssen does. O'Neill's told it's an investigation of Hanssen's sexual habits. Within weeks, the crusty Hanssen, a devout Catholic, has warmed to O'Neill, who grows to respect Hanssen. O'Neill's wife resents Hanssen's intrusiveness; the personal and professional stakes get higher. How they catch Hanssen and why he spies become the film's story. Can O'Neill help catch red-handed "the worst spy in history" and hold onto his personal life? Written by
Director Billy Ray kept Eric M. O'Neill involved in all aspects of the production, from rewriting the original screenplay, to putting it on the big screen. O'Neill said: "I worked closely with him to provide an accurate portrayal of events from an FBI standpoint."The former agent believes "this will be the most accurate FBI movie ever made." Ray said: "If you have a resource like Eric available, you'd be crazy not to use him. Eric was enormously helpful to me in the researching and writing of the script. And once the movie was cast, he was a great resource for Ryan [Ryan Phillippe] and Chris [Chris Cooper]. He had such insight into what Robert Hanssen was really like. Ryan had a slightly different take on Eric O'Neill than what I had written." Ray continued: "What Ryan saw was a power dynamic between O'Neill and Hanssen that shifted in a way that hadn't been scripted or anticipated. This came out of his meeting with Eric. He began to see that as much as Hanssen could be a bully, and as much as he could humiliate and belittle you, Eric occasionally slapped back." See more »
The two Soviet KGB Agents are shown getting out of a car with a Russian flag on the front. The Russian flag was not adopted until 1991. The agents were executed under the old Soviet Union. See more »
Sunday, the FBI successfully concluded an investigation to end a serious breach in the security of the United States. The arrest of Robert Hanssen, for espionage, should remind us all, every American should know, that our nation, our free society, is an international target, in a dangerous world.
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The history behind the FBI and the CIA have always fascinated me and I have studied this history for many years. I am well aware of the story of Robert Hanssen, and had to see the film because of that. I had my doubts about it, being the avid movie-goer that I am that they would try to "Hollywood-ize" it too much, as is almost always the case when a true story hit the silver screen. This is not the case with "Breach".
Some of the things in the movie are stretched, as is always the case, but it still remains very loyal to the truth. "Breach" does a wonderful job of taking theses slightly exaggerated parts to increase the feeling of drama and suspense, and doing it the right way.
Another bright spot is Oscar Winner Chris Cooper's fantastic portrayal of Hanssen. Cooper does such a great job of capturing Hanssen's intimidation of young Eric O'Neill and his increasing paranoia. There is no doubt in my mind that Cooper's role is Oscar worthy. It would be a shame if he were not nominated.
This film is excellent from beginning to end and is without a doubt the best spy movie I have seen in ages. The film itself, like Chris Cooper, I believe is Oscar worthy.
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