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
The movie fictionalized much of Eric M. O'Neill's story. Among the changes made for the film: The real O'Neill knew going in that Robert Hanssen was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. There was no cover story about sexual perversions, and no dramatic meeting where O'Neill learned the truth. There was no extensive contact outside the office between O'Neill and Hanssen as shown in the film (e.g. O'Neills visiting the Hanssens, Hanssens dropping by O'Neill's apartment); however, Hanssen did take O'Neill to church. The scene where Hanssen takes O'Neill out into the woods and drunkenly fires his pistol is fictional. Unlike in the movie, O'Neill never saw Hanssen after the arrest. While O'Neill did obtain Hanssen's PDA, he took it to FBI techs to download rather than downloading it himself. See more »
The mail with the video tape is sent to 5311 Bonn, Germany. The German zip code system was changed from 4 to 5 characters in 1993. See more »
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 »
The history behind the FBI and the CIA have always fascinated me and I have studied this history for many years. I am well aware of the story of Robert Hanssen, and had to see the film because of that. I had my doubts about it, being the avid movie-goer that I am that they would try to "Hollywood-ize" it too much, as is almost always the case when a true story hit the silver screen. This is not the case with "Breach".
Some of the things in the movie are stretched, as is always the case, but it still remains very loyal to the truth. "Breach" does a wonderful job of taking theses slightly exaggerated parts to increase the feeling of drama and suspense, and doing it the right way.
Another bright spot is Oscar Winner Chris Cooper's fantastic portrayal of Hanssen. Cooper does such a great job of capturing Hanssen's intimidation of young Eric O'Neill and his increasing paranoia. There is no doubt in my mind that Cooper's role is Oscar worthy. It would be a shame if he were not nominated.
This film is excellent from beginning to end and is without a doubt the best spy movie I have seen in ages. The film itself, like Chris Cooper, I believe is Oscar worthy.
122 of 176 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?