Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Inspired by true events, Breach is a dramatic thriller set inside the halls of the FBI -- the gatekeeper of the nation's most sensitive and potentially volatile secrets. Following his success with the electrifying and acclaimed "Shattered Glass," co-writer/director Billy Ray explores more deeply the disillusionment and questionable moral mentorship of a young idealist. [Universal Pictures] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Filled with tension, deception and bravura acting, Breach is a crackling tale of real-life espionage that doubles as a compelling psychological drama.
  2. Without Cooper's performance, Breach would have been a good, workmanlike thriller. His presence lifts it to a whole new level.
  3. 80
    Cooper also pulls off the near-impossible, making us feel dashes of sympathy for this twisted and unscrupulous man.
  4. Now Ray has directed his second film, the abysmally titled Breach, and it's a bona fide companion piece, another true-life tale of duplicity gone secretly insane.
  5. 75
    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.
  6. Cooper's performance is outlandishly great, but Phillippe’s knocks Breach down a peg.
  7. 50
    Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen is now serving a life sentence for his long career as a Russian and Soviet spy, but this rote thriller implies he should have done prison time just for being Catholic. As played by Chris Cooper, Hanssen is a humorless asshole who commits treason because the bureau won't give him an office with a window, and the screenplay scores countless easy points off his religiosity, which masks a weakness for sex tapes and sleazy chat rooms.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. Aug 11, 2010
    On February18,2001 Attorney General John Ashcroft made a public televised announcement that one of the FBI's highest ranking agents Robert Hanssen had been charged with selling American secrets to Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period. On 6 July 2001, he pleaded guilty to fifteen counts of espionage. He was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His activities have been described as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history." Billy Rayâ Expand
  2. BlancoA.
    Feb 16, 2007
    It's really a great little film. Chris Cooper is definitely oscar-worthy in his performance of the high level traitor. Even Ryan F. gives an excellent performance. The one weak link in the film, to my surprise, is Caroline Dhavernas who was so damned funny in TV's "Wonderfalls." She just accepts her situation without much resistance, when I think an FBI wife might put up more of struggle. Anyway, if you're up for 2 hours of modern espionage, you'll go for this. Expand
  3. Apr 26, 2011
    Masterful docudrama - solid acting, great script and direction. Thrilling, the most realistic of suspense and also Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) work. Expand
  4. Oct 18, 2014
    Breach is a good political/spy thriller that really keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe are both very good, as is Laura Linney. It is also really well told and developed, as the story really unfolds nicely and, as I mentioned already, it is very interesting. There is a real intensity in this one as, while you know what happens, you keep waiting for that shoe to drop and for them to get their guy. The way the story was told also seemed pretty fair. While Robert Hanssen is undeniably a traitor and perverted, there is a good guy in there somewhere and the film includes those moments, which I found to be a plus. The way the story stuck largely to the facts is another big plus as it really was authentic and it felt almost as if we were watching the real thing unveil before our eyes. The only major negative I can think of is the pacing. For the first 40 minutes, the pacing is glacial at best, which challenges your attention greatly. While interesting, it struggles to get going, but once it does, this one is definitely a winner. Expand
  5. BillV.
    Jul 10, 2009
    A little more study of evil would have made it work better. Fairly intense even though you know the end at the beginning.
  6. KyleS.
    Feb 16, 2007
    Could have enjoyed this more but Phillippe drags it down. Cooper is great!
  7. RodneyM.
    Mar 23, 2007
    This movie almost made me sleep. The only "exciting" part was when the main character put the pda in the wrong pocket. Half the info about the case is still classified and they tried to make a movie about it?! I give it a 2, just because they tried, and it could've been better. Expand

See all 40 User Reviews