June 5, 2010
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**Off the beaten path #3-on DVD now**
When I first watched Breach shortly after it came out on DVD years ago, I didn’t really watch it. I simply let it play in the background, not giving it the attention it deserved. After having Ryan Phillippe surprising me in MacGruber, I started to reevaluate his earlier films. Stop-loss and Cruel Intentions being my favorites, I chose to dive deeper into his filmography. I watched this just yesterday, and it sucked me in.
This is an espionage film for the intellectual. There are no fancy gadgets, just working people. It is the true story of a FBI agent who has been selling secrets for years. The film opens with the actual press conference after his arrest and then jumps back to how he was brought down. Phillippe plays the hungry Eric O’Neill, a man itching to become an agent. Chris Cooper plays the man he is supposed to bring down.
Don’t let the simple plotline or concept fool you. This film was so intense, that I had trouble taking my eyes off of the screen. The two men play cat-and-mouse so well you find yourself trying to remember how it happened in real life. Fortunately for me, I went in fresh (the best way to see a movie). The movie was pitch-perfect. The pacing and acting (and all other aspects) bring their A-game. Nothing is forced, allowing a deliberate build that peaks just at the breaking point.
It’s eerie how this takes place the first few months of 2001. The idea that he was selling secrets so close to the events of September 11, 2001 only elevates the tension. A brilliant movie with brilliant acting (including Laura Linney) that satisfies. 4.5 out of 5 stars.