|Universal Pictures | Release Date: February 16, 2007||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
These days it's going to take a pretty exceptional political thriller to top our political reality for sheer suspense and treachery, and though director Ray (Shattered Glass) provides a few choice moments of psychological tension, nothing in his film can hope to outpace the anxiety caused by the appearance of former Attorney General John Ashcroft in its opening scene. Read full review
The main problem with Breach is that the story is told through O'Neill, who's far less compelling, in part because Phillippe doesn't have the chops to draw out his own set of contradictions. By committing himself to O'Neill's perspective, Ray misses the opportunity to uncover more information about Hanssen's relationship with his wife and church, his aberrant sexuality, and his mysterious connection to the Russians. Read full review
In this film, everything comes down to the acting. Chris Cooper, one of our finest screen actors, gets inside the mysterious traitor. Ryan Phillippe has just the right gung-ho determination tempered with a touch of naivete as O'Neill. Meanwhile, Laura Linney nails the role of a career agent. Read full review
Phillippe has the unenviable task of trying to make O'Neill equally interesting, but an eager beaver with some unresolved family issues is no match for a poisoned soul methodically laying the groundwork for his own inevitable fall. The unfortunate imbalance makes long stretches of the film feel dull, but when Cooper is on screen it's mesmerizing. Read full review
The movie is serious, intelligent, intentionally claustrophobic and awfully somber -- you remember it in black and white, though it was shot (by the masterful Tak Fujimoto) in color. But you'll remember Mr. Cooper's performance for exactly what it is, an uncompromising study in the gradual decay of a soul.
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