Breach is a tightly scripted, well acted espionage thriller. It is such a joy to sit in a theater and watch a film that gets right down to business. Breach doesn't get bogged down in side stories, on any superfluous subplots. It is a film that delivers plenty of details regarding its true life story, yet also folds in a layer of emotional depth to create a well-rounded film that will slowly build the drama before reaching its inevitable conclusion.
Breach is another film based on real world events. Now, whenever you see that "fact" tacked onto a film, you must be sure to take it with a grain of salt. While many stories from the realm of the real make great fodder for the cinema, there are inevitably going to be changes, compromises, and fictions made to accommodate the medium. So, knowing that much, I cannot say how true this is to the real events, as I am completely unaware of the facts of the case. Still, Breach is completely engrossing and has a wonderful sense of realism that would have me believe that this is completely accurate. Again, that is something I know intellectually to be false, yet easily set aside as the filmmaking craft here is so involving.
This is the story of Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent who was a traitor, selling intel to the Soviets over the span of 22 years, before finally being arrested in February of 2001. The film chronicles the final two months leading up to the arrest.
Everything hinges on young FBI upstart Eric O'Neill. He is taken off of his current intelligence gathering mission and assigned to a desk as Hanssen's clerk. Eric spends his time attempting to find information on his new boss, under the guise that he is uncovering the senior agent's sexual perversions. When the further truth comes out, Eric begins to question his own ability to do the job, as well as having to deal with the increasing strain it has put on his marriage.
The film is not flashy; there are no big explosions, no big shootouts, no car chases, yet it is an still an exciting foray into the world of the FBI. It moves forward at a slow, methodical pace that feels genuine as it slowly draws you in.