It's something I've always been interested in, and the thing that most attracted me to the movie Breach. Sure, a talented-as-hell cast and a well-written screenplay is fine and dandy, but it's not always enough. Sometimes, especially when a movie is telling a true life tale, I wanna know The Why.
And it's on delivering this that the film fails.
Chris Cooper is FBI agent Robert Hannsen, a career fed who specialized in Soviet espionage and revolutionized the way the Bureau maintained it's data. Although smart, Hannsen was held back on the career path because of his personality. He was egotistical, obsessive, narrow-minded and more than a bit of a perv. (While those qualities may serve one well in politics, they are typically career busters in most other professions.)
Oh, yeah...He was also a spy. And the FBI knew it.
Eric O'Neill, played by Ryan Phillippe, is the upstart clerk pegged by administration to work with, get close to and ultimately bust Hannsen in the act of making a drop. O'Neill is ambitious, and sees this assignment as his way of getting on the Bureau's fast-track.
What he finds out about himself during the assignment changes who he is at his core, though, and also changes the direction of his life.
Breach has fine acting, and is a mostly-entertaining flick. But I struggled with The Why. Did Hannsen spy because: (a) he was held down by The Man and not promoted when he should have been, (b) he wanted the big pay-outs that comes with the spy-game, (c) he was a patriot, and was trying to show the Bureau where it was failing, or (d) he was a selfish bastard. The movie flirts with all four possibilities, but leaves the door open as to The Why.
And I really needed to know!