Friday, June 22, 2007

Breach (2007, Billy Ray)

"Based on the true story, FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was ultimately convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union."

I honestly believe that you can never go wrong with a "cat and mouse" type of thriller when its done just right. Breach is a perfect example of this.

The plot is a little bit hard to explain without ruining some minor surprises in the film. It's basically about the young agent trying to outsmart the expert agent while trying to discover if he's guilty of selling secrets to the Russians or not. You then have a strong performance by Ryan Phillipe and an even stronger performance by Chris Cooper to support this "based on a true story" film. It also doesn't hurt that the direction is subtle but also solid as well as everything else in the film. It's really just an all around solid and heavily entertaining film.

The only bad thing I can say about the whole film is a very cliched subplot that is used. The subplot I am talking about is the "young agents wife thinks her husband has changed too much because of his job" one. You know, the one we have seen over and over again. Now, I wouldn't really mind this that much but given that this has "based on a true story" written all over it this cliched subplot just makes everything feel phony when it comes to the scenes dealing with it.

Still though that's only a minor complaint and although it hurts the film a little bit it doesn't hurt it all too much. You still have a very solid piece of "mainstream cinema" to fall back on that never stops being interesting or entertaining. Plus, like I already said, you have Chris Cooper being excellent in every single minute hes on screen.

I didn't expect too much from Breach but I was nicely surprised. This is definitely one of the better films from the year so far and it's worth a watch for sure. I just hope people don't forget about it too soon.

- ***1/2

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