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4.0 5
Director: Billy Ray

Cast: Mary Jo Deschanel, Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe


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Shattered Glass director Billy Ray directs Chris Cooper and Ryan Philippe in this fact-based drama concerning the FBI traitor who carried out what many historians refer to as the most notable national security breach in U.S. history. A key member of the FBI's elite Soviet


Shattered Glass director Billy Ray directs Chris Cooper and Ryan Philippe in this fact-based drama concerning the FBI traitor who carried out what many historians refer to as the most notable national security breach in U.S. history. A key member of the FBI's elite Soviet Analytical Unit, Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) would, for 15 years beginning in 1985, sell thousands of pages of classified documents to the Soviets. After making roughly 600,000 dollars on his clandestine endeavor and compromising everything from the identities of KGB spies working for the American government to nuclear war contingency plans, Hanssen was eventually transferred to a newly created position at the FBI's Washington headquarters and assigned the task of guarding his country's most sensitive secrets. It was while working in this capacity that a young agent named Eric O'Neill (Phillipe) was assigned the task of keeping tabs on Hanssen by suspicious higher-ups. Later, after being arrested while delivering a cache of secret documents to a "dead drop" spot in a Virginia park, the notorious traitor was arrested and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Following the well-received Shattered Glass (2003), screenwriter Billy Ray continues his transition into a noteworthy directing career with another fact-based account of a con man whose web of lies caused calamitous damage to a venerable institution. Breach (2006) is touted as the true story of "master spy" Robert Hanssen, an FBI functionary whose sale of intelligence secrets over 22 years at the end of the Cold War constituted American history's single worst violation of government security. In truth, Ray's film is not really about Hanssen, who is a supporting character; the film's protagonist is Eric O'Neill, the baby-faced intelligence gatherer assigned to pose as Hanssen's assistant during the intense month-long investigation that resulted in his boss' arrest. Breach suffers slightly from its focus on the less-interesting of its two main characters, but less so because the bland rectitude of O'Neill is wisely presented as exactly the quality that allows him to succeed in ensnaring Hanssen, whose many self-delusions include the notion that he is highly moral. Ray's directing style is restrained but intelligent, yielding center stage to his actors, whose performances are exceptional. Chris Cooper chooses the route of conveying the essence of Hanssen without overly imitating the man's specific traits; his work is a study in subtlety and nuance, outwardly embodying a man whose contradictions are almost completely internal. Laura Linney verges on parodying the secret-agent stereotype in a straight-razor style that would fit equally well in a Bureau training film or a cheeky episode of The X-Files. As the moon-faced, mouth-breathing O'Neill, star Ryan Phillippe is batted about by his co-stars like a pair of lethal jungle pumas toying with their cub, but this quality is, like the film itself, clearly intentional and thoroughly enjoyable. Breach is a low-key, quietly attenuated film that represents masterful work of substance over style by everyone involved.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Over 18 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes; Breaching the truth: Get an insider's look at how Robert Hanssen's story was brought to the screen; Anantomy of a character - brought to you by Volkswagen: A powerful look at how Chris Cooper became Robert Hanssen for the film; "The Mole" as originally aired on Dateline 3/05/01: Uncover more intriguing facts about double agent Robert Hanssen in this in-depth profile; Feature commentary: With writer/director Billy Ray and former FBI operative Eric O'Neill

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mary Jo Deschanel Actor
Chris Cooper Robert Hanssen
Ryan Phillippe Eric O'Neill
Laura Linney Kate Burroughs
Dennis Haysbert Dean Plesac
Gary Cole Rich Garces
Caroline Dhavernas Juliana O'Neill
Bruce Davison John O'Neill
Kathleen Quinlan Bonnie Hanssen

Technical Credits
Billy Ray Director,Screenwriter
Rudy Braun Set Decoration/Design
Mychael Danna Score Composer
Jeffrey Ford Editor
Richard L. Fox Asst. Director
Tak Fujimoto Cinematographer
William Horberg Executive Producer
Sidney Kimmel Executive Producer
Scott Kroopf Producer
Cassandra Kulukundis Casting
Michael Madden Set Decoration/Design
Adam Mazer Original Story,Screenwriter
Adam Merims Executive Producer
Brad Milburn Set Decoration/Design
Bobby Newmyer Producer
David Michael O'Neill Associate Producer
Bill Rotko Original Story,Screenwriter
Luis M. Sequeira Costumes/Costume Designer
Jeffrey Silver Co-producer
Andrew M. Stearn Art Director
Scott Strauss Producer
Wynn P. Thomas Production Designer
John J. Thomson Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Breach
1. A Dangerous World [5:24]
2. Tasked to Headquarters [4:31]
3. Meet the New Boss [5:21]
4. Five Things [6:14]
5. FBI Culture [3:14]
6. Protocol [3:19]
7. Godliness [5:43]
8. Testing People [5:28]
9. In the Middle [4:16]
10. Read In [5:03]
11. Thinking of Quitting [6:04]
12. Dangerous Download [8:09]
13. Power Play [8:56]
14. Is It Worth It? [5:35]
15. Being Isolated [4:42]
16. Can I Trust You? [10:05]
17. A Sad Day [5:56]
18. Why Spy? [2:08]
19. Walk Away [4:10]
20. End Titles [5:31]


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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
BREACH could have been a documentary as the facts are all in place and the 2001 capture of Robert Hanssen, the most formidable spy in this country's history, is one that is mind boggling enough without the need for dramatization. Yet the screenplay by Adam Mazur and William Rotko in turn based on a story by director Billy Ray with Mazur and Rotko transforms this infamous case into a fine melodrama. The result is a smart thriller, one that holds our attention despite the fact that the results of the case are public knowledge. Robert Hanssen (in a brilliant performance by Chris Cooper) works in national Intelligence and is a crusty, ominous character with some strange demons in his head. FBI Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney) studies a young FBI clerk Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) and decides he is the one gritty and fearless enough to assign to the suspicious Hanssen, a man the FBI feels certain is a major suspect in the breach of security. Hanssen has been selling Intelligence reports to the Soviet Union but in so careful a manner that his status is almost impenetrable. Eric is married to an East German girl Julianna (Caroline Dhavernas) and while she is proud of Eric's advancement in the FBI she fears his preoccupation with his work. Hanssen and his wife Bonnie (Kathleen Quinlan) form a friendship with Eric and Julianna and that friendship, together with a shared near obsession with the Catholic Church, gains Hanssen's trust in Eric. The tension between the investigation by the FBI and Eric's role as a mole create some terrifying situations. But Eric overcomes all obstacles and proceeds to successfully match Hanssen's inscrutable mind and behavior and in the end takes great risks in all aspects of his life to fulfill his mission. The cast is excellent with special attention to the performances of Cooper, Phillippe, and Linney. The supporting roles are carefully cast with such fine actors as Gary Cole, Dennis Haysbert, and Bruce Davison. The production values add immeasurably to the aura of suspense. This is a fine movie not only for the qualities mentioned but also for bringing to light the lack of security from even the most trusted parts of our government. Disturbing food for thought and action. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was great. You are captivate from the start to finish. I can not wait till it comes to DVD. It kept my interest all through the movie. It was unbelievable that something like this could really happen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a depiction of the the most destructive mole case in American history, Breach is a brilliant film with Chris Cooper as the ingenious traitor Robert Hanssen, who was caught in 2001. Films about espionage usually stereotype or romanticize the craft instead of of discovering the evil under. However, the deeper investigation by various people in the FBI displayed the covert and less than stellar performance of the FBI and intelligence community.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago