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Breach - quick review


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#1 of 12 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 17 2007 - 02:39 PM

I found "Breach" quite slow and methodical, to its detriment. Chris Cooper, playing Robert Hanssen (one of the most notorious spies ever caught) is very good in his role, but Ryan Phillippe just isn't just to the challenge, playing Eric O'Neill (an ambitious FBI agent-wannabe tasked with shadowing Hanssen as his clerk). Weirdly enough, I wanted more on Laura Linney's character, O'Neil's handler in the Hanssen sting.

The cat-n-mouse sequences never quite provide riveting cinematic tension, and I put most of the blame on the direction by Billy Ray for the film's shortcomings. It's running time is under 2 hours, but it felt like 2.5 hours, and not in a good way.

I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
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#2 of 12 Tim Glover

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Posted February 17 2007 - 04:54 PM

I have to differ with Patrick's review. I found the slow and methodical pacing to be enthralling and suspenseful. For me, the subtleties is one of the ways Breach was captivating.

If there were some weaknesses I would point to the relationship between Eric (Phillippe) and his wife Julianne. Not much chemistry and really not enough time to make it count. And more of Laura Linney is always a good thing. Posted Image

That said, I really found Breach to be a very effective thriller. It is very slow and it took some patience but it works. Chris Cooper once again, shows his ability to truly become a character. He's so good in this. His facial expressions say 1000 words. Even a slight lowering of his eye gave me a chill or too.

From the Boston Globe:
Quote:
"Breach" is a spy thriller that doesn't do the things spy thrillers are supposed to do. There aren't any international datelines or slinky femme fatales, no poisoned darts or state-of-the-art widgets. Actually, there is one gadget: a late-'90s Palm Pilot. But there's precious little espionage where we can see it, and that's what makes the movie such a compelling and eerily effective little drama.

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times:
Quote:
Chris Cooper owns "Breach" in a way that makes it impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. You don't usually see nomination-level, showcase performances this early in the year, but Cooper delivers at the highest level in an expertly rendered piece of work that's even more impressive than his best supporting actor turn in "Adaptation" -- and perhaps anything else the versatile Cooper has done in his career.....

And Chris Cooper is so comfortable and natural that the movie might be over before you realize you just saw greatness.

It was refreshing to see a film like Breach not have to rely on car chases, explosions, ticking bombs etc...It was intense because of the fine acting in those clever suspenseful situations. One pleasant surprise was seeing this in a packed theater. Thought it might be empty with other high profile films opening up too. Posted Image

Breach earns a solid 9/10. Posted Image

#3 of 12 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 17 2007 - 06:32 PM

One thing that irked me:

Why doesn't O'Neil put the bloody beeper in the vibrate mode? Horrible, cliched paranoia-inducing plot device, that beeping beeper was.

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#4 of 12 Tim Glover

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Posted February 18 2007 - 02:45 AM

That is a good point Patrick...I guess they needed that "ring" to create some intense moments. Posted Image Still, your point is well taken.

#5 of 12 gvw

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Posted February 18 2007 - 03:31 AM

sounds interesting, looking forward to seeing it.

#6 of 12 ChrisMatson

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Posted February 18 2007 - 04:22 AM

I agree with Tim that Breach works as an effective thriller.
We saw this last night with some friends and were surprised to find a nearly full theater as well.
I thought Ryan Phillipe and Chris Cooper were both great in their roles.
Recommended for those who would be interested in recent historical events or a slower-paced, but rewarding thriller.

#7 of 12 Chris Atkins

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Posted July 01 2007 - 08:31 AM

Loved it. Agree with Tim's review. This felt like a realistic spy thriller, suitable to the subject, and was also an interesting look at Hanssen's character.

9/10

#8 of 12 Sam Davatchi

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Posted July 17 2007 - 12:27 PM

Just saw this tonight on DVD. I thought it was an OK movie. It was only after I saw the documentary and reading more about this that I figured out the gravity and immensity of the story. Yes no matter how many times they did say this was the worst spy case. It just didn't feel that bad or serious.

I just can’t help but to think that they have failed in making this movie. They made a second rate movie. This story should have been given a better direction. The level of the movie could have been of JFK, Nixon magnitude.

#9 of 12 Mikah Cerucco

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Posted July 18 2007 - 01:24 AM

I agree about the lack of sense of scope while watching the movie. However, it can be argued that's how these things play out from the POV of people involved. You don't necessarily get the big picture of what you're doing or what you're involved in. We'd probably get a better feeling of the scope if we saw some of the other side of things, not just the infiltration attempts. This movie was about the infiltration attempt by the Eric O'Neill character. For awhile there, he doesn't even have the big picture about what's going on with his side of things.
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#10 of 12 DaveF

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Posted July 18 2007 - 01:25 AM

We have a Five-Minute Hate for Robert Hanssen annually, so this movie was an interesting addition to my regular refresher briefing.

I enjoyed it thoroughly. I liked that it was slow and more contemplative instead of herky-jerky, can't-see-what's-happening, super-human action of Bourne II. This followed the mold of Spy Games, with Redford, from a few years ago and is a style of spy movie I like to see every year or two.

Perhaps we can get a sequel, where Hanssen breaks out of prison, returns for revenge, maybe swaps faces with O'Neill, sets a bunch of doves loose, and generally shoots the place up! Posted Image

#11 of 12 JohnRice

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Posted July 18 2007 - 02:48 AM

Posted Image

I thought it was an excellent movie. I appreciated how it shrugged off the obvious old approach of Hansson sneaking around, meeting with the Russians and so on. It was a different take than you usually get with the espionage stories.

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#12 of 12 Brett_M

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Posted July 18 2007 - 04:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Glover
I have to differ with Patrick's review. I found the slow and methodical pacing to be enthralling and suspenseful. For me, the subtleties is one of the ways Breach was captivating.

If there were some weaknesses I would point to the relationship between Eric (Phillippe) and his wife Julianne. Not much chemistry and really not enough time to make it count. And more of Laura Linney is always a good thing. Posted Image

That said, I really found Breach to be a very effective thriller. It is very slow and it took some patience but it works. Chris Cooper once again, shows his ability to truly become a character. He's so good in this. His facial expressions say 1000 words. Even a slight lowering of his eye gave me a chill or too.

Breach earns a solid 9/10. Posted Image

I agree. Heard mixed reviews but enjoyed it. I have never really been a fan of Ryan Phillipe but he is excellent in this. Chris Copper is a master. I am in love with Laura Linney so I will watch anything she's in.

It's worth a look if you haven't seen it.
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