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Breach (2007)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 48,329 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 199 user | 192 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

Based on the true story, FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was put on trial for selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

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Title: Breach (2007)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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D.I.A. Suit
David Huband ...
Photographer
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Agent Nece
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Agent Sherin
Courtenay J. Stevens ...
Agent Loper (as Courtenay Stevens)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

investigation | fbi | clerk | computer | spy | See more »

Taglines:

How one man betrayed the security of a nation. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

16 February 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hanssen  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£156,140 (UK) (31 August 2007)

Gross:

£156,140 (UK) (31 August 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During an appearance on the radio program "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," the real Eric M. O'Neill told Gross that the real Robert Hanssen had a crush on the movie star Catherine Zeta-Jones, and he used to watch her movies at the office while he was supposed to be working. This is briefly referred to in Breach (2007) when investigators find DVDs of The Mask of Zorro (1998) and Entrapment (1999) among Hanssen's effects. See more »

Goofs

Eric steams open an envelope, leaves it on kitchen counter, Juliana comes home, puts two bags of groceries on envelope. Eric picks up envelope that has magically appeared on coffee table See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Ashcroft: [news clip] 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.
See more »

Connections

References Black Robe (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Near You
Written by Francis Craig, Kermit Goell
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

Two Men in a Boat
24 February 2007 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I was surprised at how effective this was. You know from the very beginning how it will end. You know because it is a true story that there will be no trendy plot twists. You expect, and find, that the young assistant is built around a cliché, as is Hanssen's Catholicism, which oddly ignores the role of Opus Dei in this venture, and focuses on prayer instead of devotion.

And there is a formulaic bit about damaging fathers and odd wives. More: there's the project command center that is drawn from movies and not from life. And finally, our hero is told the FBI's biggest secret in an open public place. This would never ever happen, and it is staged this way only to help the pacing of the thing in terms of stagecraft. And that DIA computer room, with the nice clean Cray-like machines, is from the same fantasy world as "Red October's" neon-lighted missile tubes.

But in spite of all this, it works. And especially compared to "The Departed," it works, simply, cleanly, deeply.

That's because the filmmaker decided early in the game that he was going to do what the Hong Kong "Infernal Affairs" did well and others copied: this business of actors playing characters who are actors. In this case, we have two such in the same boat.

We have a top information manager at the FBI working for the Russians and acting normal, even when leading the hunt for himself. We have the young under cover guy pretending to be simply a clerk. Each intuits the other is watching. The older man completely wins at the start, with the younger man eventually besting him in artifice. Its a calculation that the filmmaker makes, when deciding not to tell us why our young hero does what he does and where he gets the tools. In an ordinary story, that would hurt, but here it is a wise decision because such "explaining" would get in the way of the economy of the thing. And it is all about economic connection with us.

Its a bit counterintuitive that effective stories sometimes get better by lopping off story elements and information. But it is true. Some students of the Hanssen case believe that Hanssen's primary motive was to show his own importance (as a information security planner) by revealing holes in the system that he would have plugged. I wish this film would have worked with that a bit, because this notion of helping the system by hurting is system is both what the story could have been about and the means used to tell the story.

Still, a good one.

As a historical note, there's a reason folks from the FBI and CIA, even senior ones, can't wander into NSA computing facilities. Hanssen wasn't allowed, probably a good thing at the time. Opus Dei again.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


71 of 100 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Don't you feel a little sorry for him? Kubrick_Reincarnated
Sorry to ppl who liked it but i was SO BORED! goodgirlgonebad1
Do you think Hanssen will ever see the film? ikilledsanta
I thought the Russians are now our friends mgm1212116
Body armor at a gun range? boomshiko
The Stereotype is Soooo Predictable kevlut77
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