Chris Cooper Is Great, but 'Breach' Isn't

Article excerpt

Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic


* * 1/2 out of four

Opens today

Starring As

Ryan Phillippe Eric O'Neill

Chris Cooper Robert Hanssen

Laura Linney Kate Burroughs

Dennis Haysbert Dean Plasec

With Kathleen Quinlan, Gary Cole, Bruce Davison and Caroline Dhavernas.

Screenplay by Adam Mazer, William Rotko and Billy Ray. Produced by Bobby Newmyer, Scott Strauss and Scott Kroopf. Directed by Billy Ray. A Universal Pictures release. Rated PG-13 (sexual situations, language, violence). unning time: 110 minutes.

"Breach" tells a riveting, fact-based FBI spy story, but without any rivets.

The movie coasts along with enough narrative momentum to stave off boredom. And Chris Cooper's bull's-eye portrait of a complex, contradictory senior agent accused of being a traitor nudges the story along nicely.

Yet, what we have here in "Breach" is the FBI version of the CIA story "The Good Shepherd," an ambitious, well-acted dramatic dud that seldom achieves the level of suspense or involvement you'd expect in a cat-and-mouse mystery of this magnitude.

"Breach" tells the story of Robert Hanssen, a senior FBI agent accused of selling secrets to the Russians during a 22-year span, such as where the U.S. president and other leaders would be located during national emergencies.

Young FBI recruit Eric O'Neill, perfunctorily played by Ryan Phillippe, has no knowledge of Hanssen (Cooper) when his FBI supervisor Kate Burroughs (an uncomfortable, miscast Laura Linney) recruits the aspiring agent to work in Hanssen's Washington, D.C., office. …