Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Struggle for the Soul of a Spy; Counter-Intelligence: Ryan Phillippe and Caroline Dhavernas in Breach

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Struggle for the Soul of a Spy; Counter-Intelligence: Ryan Phillippe and Caroline Dhavernas in Breach

Article excerpt

Byline: Derek malcolm

Breach Cert 12A, 110 mins ***

ROBERT Hanssen, an FBI special agent, was as successful a spy as America everhad. The trouble was that he did his spying for the Soviet Union. He was onlybrought to book in 2001, after 500 operatives had spent months stealthilyinvestigating him.

Hanssen had spilt secrets for some 22 years during the Cold War and was clearlymore intelligent than most of those who suspected him. He was certainly a greatdeal more experienced than Eric O'Neill, the 26-year-old special surveillanceagent who was detailed to work as his assistant and, if possible, to betrayhim. He was also, amazingly enough, a devout Catholic and a member of Opus Dei.

Such a story would seem to lend itself to a thrilling movie.

But Billy Ray, who both wrote and directed, has made a film that eschews anexplosive approach and quietly explores what made Hanssen tick and how a youngassistant, also a Catholic, gradually wormed his way into the superspy's confidence. …

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