Another underrated movie starring another underrated actor.
Chris Cooper received a well-deserved Oscar for “Adaptation” but before that he was in John Sayles’ amazing “Lone Star,” as well as “American Beauty” and “October Sky.”
“Breach” is the story of how FBI agent and traitor Robert Hanssen was caught by his own employers. Ryan Philippe is Eric O’Neil, the man the FBI used to gain Hanssen’s trust and eventually bring him down. We know from the outset that they are going to capture him and we know that he was convicted as a traitor to the US so the film’s taut storyline concerns how he’s caught. Cooper is brilliant as Hanssen, paranoid and egotistical yet highly moral. He is able to balance both sides of the man’s complex personality perfectly.
I think the film would have been a bigger hit if there had been more action. People might have been expecting lots of gunplay a la “Bourne,” which Cooper was also in.
And of course, this movie also has Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert, both of whom are fantastic in anything they do.