BREACH is based upon the true story of young FBI hopeful, Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe), who has been recruited to help bring down his new boss, agent Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper). Eventually, Hanssen was convicted for selling secrets to the Soviet Union in a true story that is considered one of the worst security breaches in American history.
Young FBI recruit Eric O’Neill cannot wait to make the status of Agent. However, he is soon dragged into an inter-agency investigation and placed in a new office where he is asked to spy on his boss, Robert Hanssen. Told by the investigation team, headed up by the hard-nosed Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney), that Hanssen is merely a sexual deviant that must be brought to an embarrassing end of his career, Eric soon feels that this information cannot possibly be true. All Eric can surmise is that Hanssen is a deeply devout Catholic who loves his wife and grandchildren. In Eric’s estimation, the Bureau’s labeling of Hanssen as a sexual deviant could not be further from the truth.
Eric demands to know more. Soon, Kate informs Eric that Hanssen is not being investigated for sexual deviance. He is, in fact, being investigated for treason and espionage by selling secrets to the Soviet Union, which may have led to the deaths of countless spies during the Cold War. As Eric draws closer to the truth, Hanssen becomes more wary of whom he can trust. The stakes continue to escalate for Eric as he tries to bring down one of the worst spies in American history.
BREACH is a high quality movie that is well directed and well told. Chris Cooper and Laura Linney both give wonderful performances. Ryan Phillippe seems a little one-dimensional and, at times, is the weak link of the movie. The marketing for BREACH makes the movie seem like a taut, edge-of-your-seat, political thriller with twists and turns that will keep audiences guessing until the final moments. However, the marketing is a little deceptive. The movie feels a little flat and is not nearly as intense as the trailers make it seem. It is, though, an enjoyable movie that will leave viewers wanting to explore more about the real-life Robert Hanssen.
The movie does contain strong religious overtones and themes with strong elements of Christianity, although ultimately, the most religious and devout character, Robert Hanssen, is considered one of the worst spies in U.S. history. Regrettably, the movie also contains some cautionary sexual content and sexual discussions as well as some light foul language. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® believes BREACH deserves an Extreme Caution acceptability rating.
(BB, CC, Ab, PP, ACAC, Ho, LL, V, SS, N, AA, MM) Strong biblical worldview with many references to Catholicism and Christianity, although the strongest religious character is also a treasonous spy, but he is discovered and punished for his actions, many references to Christ, prayer, the Lord, and phrases like “God expects you to live your faith every day,” as well as Catholic elements such as praying the rosary, going to Mass and Confession, plus strong political elements such as patriotism and serving one’s country, the movie is set in a post-Communist era where spy traded U.S. secrets to the Soviets and Communism is rebuked and character even states that the “Soviet Union failed because of godlessness and atheism” with comments of how the CIA and FBI do not work together, and elements of a negative view on homosexuality as photographer is portrayed as effete and religious character says the “world doesn’t need anymore Hillary Clintons” and he rebukes a political activist he saw on TV who was defending same-sex marriage; nine obscenities (including one "f" word) and eight profanities (mostly “Dear Lord,” and “my God” ), plus several instances of name-calling as boss tells employee he is an imbecile, idiot, etc.; very mild violence includes two Soviet spies are shot in the head in a dark corridor, gunfire on a shooting range and spy fires gun by the head of his assistant in order to scare him; some sexual content includes man is described as a sexual deviant by using graphic terms during a discussion, married kissing, married couple has implied sexual encounter, home-made pornographic video is found and watched with accompanying sound heard, and implied masturbation; light naturalistic nudity of woman’s cleavage in a nightgown; alcohol consumption is discussed but rebuked for FBI agents, one scene of alcohol consumption depicted and character is implied as being drunk; no smoking or drug use; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes lies and deceit in political games between spies and agencies and man must lie to his wife for his job.
BREACH stars Ryan Phillippe ("Fill-eh-pee"), Laura Linney and Chris Cooper. It is based on the true story of young FBI hopeful, Eric O’Neill, who is recruited to expose his new boss, Agent Robert Hanssen, accused of feeding secrets to the Soviet Union. Hanssen's betrayal may have led to the deaths of countless spies during the Cold War between America and the Soviets. As Eric and the investigation team draws closer to the truth, Hanssen becomes more wary of whom he can trust. The stakes continue to escalate for Eric as he investigates Hanssen and tries to bring down one of the worst spy rings in American history.
Though a little flat at times, BREACH is well directed and well told. It contains strong religious overtones and themes, plus some pro-American content, along with strong elements of Christianity. Ultimately, however, the most religious and devout character is considered one of the worst spies in U.S. history. Obviously, he hid behind his religion to avoid suspicion. BREACH contains some cautionary sexual content and sexual discussions, as well as some foul language, including one "f" word. Thus, it gets an Extreme Caution acceptability rating from MOVIEGUIDE®.