Breach (PG-13)

Drama 110 February 16, 2007
By Robert Wilonsky
Breach plays like a sequel of sorts to Billy Ray's last film, Shattered Glass, about the fabulist Stephen Glass, fired from The New Republic for proffering fiction as fact. Only this time, FBI-agent-turned-KGB-spy Robert Hanssen, played here by Chris Cooper with stolid, brute force, wasn't just a lying twerp but a certified bad man who, for more than two decades, sold thousands of secrets to the Russian government. Cooper plays him as history has portrayed him: a sneering, self-righteous counterintelligence genius whose Nowhere Man exterior belied a darker truth. Ryan Phillippe, up to now seeming like a minor-leaguer swinging a small stick in the bigs, is perfectly cast as Eric O'Neill, who worked as Hanssen's assistant and helped lead to his 2001 arrest. Like the inferior The Good Shepherd, whose release late last year caused Universal to bump Breach to the February graveyard, this is a spy movie bereft of the genre's usual, casual kicks. Ray's more interested in dissecting the relationship between a ticked-off traitor who thought he'd found a kindred spirit and a true believer who didn't want to admit that his father figure was one of the world's most dangerous men.
Billy Ray Ryan Phillippe, Jonathan Keltz, Chris Cooper, Aaron Abrams, Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, Bruce Davison, Mary Jo Deschanel, Caroline Dhavernas Billy Ray, Adam Mazer Scott Kroopf, Scott Strauss, Robert Newmyer Universal Studios

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