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Reviewed on 2007-02-18
Received[3.5]  out of 4 stars
GenreDrama / Thriller
Kansas City native Chris Cooper commands the screen in this true story about Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent who sells secrets to the Soviets for more than two decades. Ryan Phillippe fine-tunes his acting abilities as Robert's assistant, Eric O'Neill. Phillipe's character is assigned to the subordinate role and asked by his superiors to report on every little detail of Hanssenís comings and goings no matter how insignificant they seemed. In hopes of working his way up the ranks to an FBI agent, O'Neill is let down when this new assignment leaves him feeling his job is unimportant. He kindles a relationship with Hanssen through religion and marriage advice and begins to respect him both as an FBI agent and as a man. When O'Neill challenges Kate Burroughs, played by Laura Linney, with the assignment he has been given, he finds out that he is part of the biggest security breach case in US history.

In 2001 when I first heard the news of the breach in FBI security I strongly disbelieved that someone could actually be a spy for over 20 years. That is to say, how could a spy function under all the surveillance and superior technology? Well this movie does a fine job of answering those questions as the entire cast was hitting on all cylinders. The cast exquisitely play the complete and complex characters with Chris Cooper at the top of his game. In my opinion, Cooper is definitely in the running for best actor early in the year; a rare feat for a February release. I would have liked to see more of the circumstances leading up to the breach to explain a little more about what could lead a man to commit such unthinkable acts. It would have also been interesting if the story line included a more in-depth look at his Russian connections.

After the press screening, moviegoers were impressed by the well crafted story line and the superior acting. The ending scene seemed to stand out in everyoneís minds as the pivotal moment to remember. In the closing scene, O'Neill runs into Hanssen in the elevator after being arrested and "as the light illumates his face and he fearfully grabs the voice to tell O'Neill to pray for him, the elevator doors slowly shut, the light dissipates and the movie is over. What an amazing finishing touch" said Chris Moran, writer at Entertainment Spectrum. So many flashes of brilliance were illustrated from the entire movie in one simple scene. So, if you are in the mood to get a closer look at the greatest breach in US History along with exceptional acting, then donít miss this expertly created real life thriller.

Review By:
John Koehler & Maleah Moran

© 1999 Entertainment Spectrum Staff Contacts

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