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Directed by Billy Ray

Directed by: Directed by Billy Ray
Director Billy Ray appears to be carving out a strange niche for himself---both the films that he’s directed have been semi-decent dramas about real-life liars. The first of these, 2003’s Shattered Glass, showcased Stephen Glass, a journalist who made up many of his best articles. That movie was sometimes hard to watch---Hayden Christensen’s wooden performance made Glass seem laughable, his lies transparent. In Ray’s second liar-biopic, Breach, Chris Cooper plays former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, the liar in question. Most of Breach tells the story of Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe), a young FBI operative assigned to work alongside and befriend Hanssen, a traitor who spent over a decade spying for the Soviet Union. The story’s true; Hanssen was caught in 2001 and O’Neill was instrumental in his capture. Breach is a watchable thriller but aside from some great performances (Laura Linney also appears), there’s nothing terribly impressive about it. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, either. It’s certainly better paced than the other recent US-intelligence drama, Robert De Niro’s ponderous CIA saga The Good Shepherd. And if Breach’s improvement over Shattered Glass is any indication, the next movie-about-liars Ray brings us is sure to be spectacular.
Lindsay McCarney

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Vol 25, No 25
November 16, 2017

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