Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This is an interesting question. Unfortunately, it is a question that was answered in real life. I guess the moral to this story is that the bad guy ultimately went to jail. Breach tells the true story of Robert Hanssen, a high level FBI Agent who was selling secrets to the soviet. The amount of damage that he did to the United States is classified. What we do know is that he compromised at least fifty operatives resulting in the death of no less than three. A devout Catholic by day, Hanssen was hiding lots of secrets.
It is interesting that Chris Cooper was cast in both Breach and then The Kingdom. Both of these movies were about the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I guess Cooper has a bureaucratic look about him. There are stark differences to these two movies that come primarily from the writing. I believe that The Kingdom was inspired by actual events, although the story itself was fiction. Breach was based on a true story. Although certain liberties had to be taken to tell parts of the story that aren't known, the writing was very believable. In The Kingdom we get to see government agencies butting heads...the approach was very cartoonish and immature. I thought that the approach taken in that film was over the top. In contrast, Breach did an excellent job of showing the nuance in bureaucracy. Many of the dynamics (especially inter-agency relationships) were spot on. Rather than the confrontational type aspects we see in The Kingdom, Breach gives us the more "passive aggressive" type relationship that more adequately describes inter-agency squabbles.
Breach also did a great deal of research to portray details accurately. I was surprised at some of the indications that I saw that the writers did their homework. For instance, Hanssen refers to the mandatory retirement age of 57. This may be a small fact, but it is true. The analyst in this film, Eric O'Neill (played by Ryan Phillipe) talks about his GS rating referring to his paygrade as GS-11. That pay grade sounds like the high end for analysts, but is believable nonetheless. Much if the dialogue was filled with tidbits of information that revealed an insight into the workings of the government and knowledge of every day details. Based on the sharp dialogue and attention to detail, I would give my highest marks to the writers.
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