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PCR # 360  (Vol. 8, No. 7)  This edition is for the week of February 12--18, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The Tampa Film Review for February  by Nolan B. Canova
Loren Cass: A Florida Indie Film Review  by Nolan B. Canova
Weird Magic in Sanford, FL!  by ED Tucker
Ginnie Springs - - Skunk Ape Central?...Just What Happened on the Wacaser Farm in 1956?  by William Moriaty
"Breach"  by Mike Smith
Concerts....The British Oscars....Passing On....Movie Notes....Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 7: Josh Mostel  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney
Directed by: Billy Ray
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 58 mins

In February 2001, FBI Agent Robert Hanssen was arrested and eventually convicted of selling military and intelligence secrets to the Soviet Union.

December 2000. FBI employee Eric O'Neill (Phillippe) is taking part in the surveillance of a possible terrorist. Hired for his excellent computer skills, O'Neill is hoping to catch the eye of the bureau so that he can be promoted to the position of Agent. He gets his wish when he is assigned to clerk for Special Agent Robert Hanssen (Cooper), a legend in the bureau for his work with the Soviets for almost 25 years. O'Neill is informed by his superior officer, Kate Burroughs (Linney), that the FBI is keeping an eye on Hanssen because they have learned that he is a sexual deviant, posting items on the world wide web. Curious as to why he was picked, O'Neill is told that he has been described as a man with a large ego but the ability to park it when necessary.

On his first day on the job, O'Neill learns that Hanssen is a man who strongly believes in his church, going as far as to sinuate to O'Neill that the way to advancement is to rely on prayer. Hanssen also takes note that O'Neill's wife Julianna (Caroline Dhavernas) is from an Eastern Bloc nation, which raises all kinds of red flags (no pun intended). After a few weeks, O'Neill informs his superiors that he has found no evidence of Hanssen's sexual indiscretions and that he has, in fact, become a mentor. Only then is O'Neill told that Hanssen is dealing with the Soviets. And the game begins.

A spy film of the first order, "Breach" succeeds on all levels. Chris Cooper manages to make us sympathize with him even though we know he's doing wrong. An actor who excels at what I call "quiet strength," Cooper often says more with his eyes then with his mouth. Following great work in "Crash" and "Flags Of Our Fathers," Phillippe's performance here validates the promise he showed in the late 1990s in "54" and "Cruel Intentions." Like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp before him, Phillippe has worked hard to be taken seriously as an actor and in "Breach" that work pays off. The supporting players are just as solid, with Gary Cole, Dennis Haysbert, Kathleen Quinlan and Bruce Davison among the stand outs. The tension and excitement are well conveyed by director Billy Ray, which is a real testament to his abilities since the audience knows how the story ends going in.

"Suppose he's smarter then me," O'Neill asks, only to be told that to get away with what he has for twenty five years, Hanssen has to be "smarter then all of us." With that being said, I can only add that you should definitely make plans to see "Breach." It's the smart thing to do.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Breach"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Breach" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.