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Movie Review: Breach

Alternate Title: There are Spies Amongst Us (an often used alternate title)

Story: What dark forces drive a seemingly God fearing Catholic, all American family man, and respected FBI agent to turn on his country? This film is based on the true story of agent Robert Hanssen. who spent 22 of his 25 years with the FBI as a spy for the Russians.

Director Billy Ray (Shattered Glass) delivers a solid film that at times appears more like a documentary than a spy/thriller. The everyday workings of the FBI seem much drier than you would think. Filled with politics, one-ups-manship and pissing contests it is not hard to see how things don't always work the way they do in novels. The screenplay by Adam Mazer, William Rotko and Billy Ray is intelligent in tone as we witness the final months that led to his to the arrest in February of 2001.

Young would-be agent Eric O'Neill is placed in Hanssen's office to watch his every move. His budding friendship with Hanssen led directly to the capture of this spy.

If you like politics, films about spies, good acting and story telling, check out this entertaining, but not perfect film.

For more on Hanssen go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hanssen

Acting: Chris Cooper is fabulous as Robert Hanssen. He gives this complicated character depth and we feel sympathy when he is captured - now that is good acting. Ryan Phillippe, as Eric O'Neill does not have the depth to stay in the same room as Cooper. I think he will grow into a better actor someday. Laura Linney, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole, Dennis Haysbert and Kathleen Quinlan are all good in supporting roles. But this film is all about Chris Cooper's role.

Predilection: I am a political junkie and like spy stuff.

Critters: None.

Food: Meat and potatoes.

Blatant Product Placement: Dell Computer

Soundtrack: Haunting but not cloying.

Opening Titles: The grainy image of John (Let the Eagles Soar) Ashcroft as he announces the arrest of Robert Hanssen is the opening shot.

Visual Art: A painting by Winslow Homer which is referred to as 'two guys in a boat'.

Theater Audience:A handful of other political junkies celebrating president's Day in the movies

Weather: It seems to be a cold winter in DC.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The idea of spies makes me squirm.

Drift Factor: No drifting for me.

Predictability Level: There are no surprises if you know the story.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would do fine.

Length: 110 minutes