Based on the true story of Robert Hanssen, FBI’s most damaging double agent during the Cold War, Breach is a deceptively simple thriller. A detailed guide to the film’s plot would make it sound like not very much happens during the film, and indeed you know who the double agent is from pretty early on – along with knowing that the FBI know. The story does not have the sort of twists an piece of fiction would require.
Yet for all that simplicity, and the absence of high-speed thrills, it is a tense film which keeps you watching thanks to the brilliance of the acting – especially Chris Cooper, the interplay of the characters and the use of sparse sets which get a twist of extra tension by the camera lingering over them. Even if the overall plot is straightforward, almost every scene has a form of tension that makes it a cut about the usual American espionage fare.
The DVD comes with some extras that are actually worth watching, including a news documentary on the real life case which the movie is based on, and a set of deleted scenes – a couple of which are quite brilliant – which come with a commentary that does a good job of explaining to the uninitiated why even brilliant scenes end up being axed in order to make the overall film work better.
Here’s the trailer:
If you like this, you might also be interested in Codename Kyril.
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