Thursday, March 1, 2007

Breach (2007)


Yes, Breach is another one of those government conspiracy movies. It is the true story of "the greatest security breach in U.S. history," directed by Billy Ray who had a minor hit with Shattered Glass a few years ago. Let's get this clear from the start; this film would easily, without question be a one or even zero star movie if it wasn't for the extraordinarily disturbing performance by Chris Cooper. Cooper's portrayal of Robert Hanssen, the conspirator, is dark and horrifying, yet at the same time an every man that earns your sympathy. Ryan Phillipe returns to his pre-Crash form of bringing absolutely nothing to the table. Laura Linney, who is great in both Kinsey and the Squid and the Whale, is tremendously awful as Philippe's boss. Linney is almost always reliable, but every scene she is in is so painful to watch that I question whether the error was on the screenwriter or her acting chops. The director may have had a goal to pack as many stereotypes into one film as possible; foreign wife who takes emotional spousal abuse, christian sexual deviant, powerful yet lonely boss, young guy who will do anything to get ahead, etc. The story has enough twists and turns to keep the casual movie fan interested and the fact that it is based on truth adds another dimension to the story. Regardless, there is no way around it, the only scenes that are even remotely entertaining, or even not laugh-out-loud awful, are the ones including Cooper. Other laugh-out-loud moments include every single scene containing Lumbergh, aka Gary Cole (you going to go ahead and have those TPS reports for us this afternoon?), as Cooper's boss, and Dennis Haysbert, aka the All-State insurance guy. Cooper was good in Adaptation and better in American Beauty, but this is far and away the best I have seen him. Its disappointing that such a terrific performance is marred by almost everything else about the film. Afterward you will either be terrified by Cooper or wondering, Are You In Good Hands? That's All-State's stand.

Good For: people who like government conspiracy/suspense movies, actors in training (watch Chris Cooper), a date (a dark performance and a good laugh), Reese Witherspoon (a good laugh)

Bad For: someone looking for a serious suspense film, Chris Cooper

The Gallery
The Surfer: * * *

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