Sunday, March 04, 2007

Crummy Title; Good Movie

We saw the espionage drama "Breach" the other night, about FBI analyst Robert Hanssen, who spied for the Russians for 15 years or so of his 25-year FBI career. Hanssen led what must have been a tightly compartmentalized life--he was a fanatical Catholic, a mild sexual deviant, a counterintelligence wizard, and a traitor to his country. Those pieces don't fit together in any coherent fashion or form, and the movie makes no effort to explain the jarring incongruities in the man's life. In the end, it doesn't give any simple explanation as to why he took up spying for the former godless commies he denounced from his position as a devotee of the Opus Dei brand of Catholicism. DW said that there was a very simple explanation--he did it because he could. I suppose that's as good a reason as any, and, in real life, are there really simple explanations for many of our own inconsistencies and hypocricies?

Chris Cooper is awesome as the creepy Hanssen, and he plays all aspects of the character very convincingly. Ryan Phillippe is good as Eric O'Neill, the aspiring FBI analyst who was planted in Hanssen's make-work office; he was told that he was put there as part of an investigation into Hanssen's sexual deviancy. Only later was he told that his boss was suspected of treason. Laura Linney was kind of wasted as the head of the Hanssen investigation unit; a shame, as she is a good actress.

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