Breach has the same difficulties of a lot of more politically based drama films, being that it is a rather slow paced feature and relies essentially on a lot of talking and the complex relationship between its two main characters to serve as the main source of entertainment. But unfortunately I found that the drama of the film began to wear thin as the dialogue just kept on piling up and I essentially found that it became too predictable to serve as entertainment value to me.
I didn't really find that the tension was too effective in most scenes, although it did have its moments. But since the drama was essentially all built on dialogue the tension was disappointingly lacking, it just didn't do the job for me. And while it is true that Billy Ray succeeds in writing a fine screenplay as he has proved on various occasions, his directional skill is not yet in tone and so Breach doesn't really boast anything of his talents in that area. While he does manage to contribute enough to make the visual elements of the film ripe with fine cinematography and well timed editing, Breach is still a dull experience based simply on the fact that its story doesn't seem as interesting as it should be, and I don't know whether to say that's because the story isn't a great one or because it hasn't been told well enough to truly capitalise on its potential. I'm certain that there could have been a lot more tension in one way or another at various points in the story, but I rarely found any of those momentsand instead deemed that Breach simply failed at what it set out to do and that it was better on paper than on camera. This phrase works both from an adaptation perspective and a real story perspective because the story itself is loaded with just a lot of talking and little else apart from a few predictable story moments, so the film itself was a lot more on paper than it should have been. Breach seemed more like a theoretical film than a practical one because the characters spend more time emphasising the nature of Robert Hanssen's actions than we spend witnessing them, and it does this over a slowly paced story that stretches its thin premise out from a bit long.
And the scale of Breach was spoken about as being large yet it all occurs within a very small setting and I honestly just wasn't convinced that it was such a big issue since the film didn't press that the scale of the story dynamics had caused such a wide effect on the world it was set it. It was touched upon once or twice but I can honestly say that it was never really enough to do the job it wanted to.
All in all I can't say that I hated breach or that I really had any single person to blame for not liking it, but I just found it to be a dull and boring film which was not what I had expected or hoped for.
But at least the story is easy to keep track of because a lot of the time political films like this tend to get caught up in talking so much that viewers lose track of what is really going on. And while there is a very large amount of talking in Breach which I found to be tedious and not that dramatic most of the time, at least the talking was relevant and never went off side or rushed ahead.
And the quality of the film is elevated by Chris Cooper's lead performance as Robert Hanssen. Chris Cooper's natural confidence and simply captivating line delivery never goes over the line and keeps in with the mood of the scenes. While I found much of the film to be dull, there was no denying that Chris Cooper was an excellent lead. His attitude was constantly realistic and his line delivery just came naturally to him. Chris Cooper didn't have to do too much to naturally fall into the role of Robert Hansen because his portrayal of the character is a greatly realistic one which leads the story through a lot. He doesn't come up short at any point and proves without a doubt that he succeeds in capturing the dramatic aspects of the film without any problems. His Academy Award winning talents are put on display in Breach and without working too hard he gets the part without problem.
Ryan Philliipe manages to pull out a determined and great effort as well where he never really has any problem. He does a surprisingly good job the whole time and he proves that Breach is a film that contains one of his significantly better performances from his entire career. While the film isn't too intense, his chemistry with Chris Cooper is largely because of the underlying themes in the story and the complicated relationship that their characters shared. Thanks to the two of them working together, Breach is at least a well acted film and is memorable for their efforts, moreso for Chris Cooper's than anyone else's. But that's what I expected anyway.
So while the acting in the film is undeniably effective thanks mostly to the fact that Chris Cooper makes a brilliant lead, Breach fails to be the compelling and thrilling film that it wants to be and turns out more as a repetitive film full of talking but not much else. Not many thrills, not many surprises, just a lot of talking. So if you're into university lectures and conference meetings then I can guarantee you that Breach is the kind of film for you. Anybody else, I can't guarantee that,