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Based on the true story of the worst case of spying in U.S. history, this taut thriller relies on an intriguing central character, brought to life brilliantly by Chris Cooper (AMERICAN BEAUTY). Director Billy Ray brings the same examining eye he brought to his previous film, SHATTERED GLASS, which chronicled Stephen Glass’s deception in filing fake news reports to his newspaper in an effort to succeed. Many of the same themes are addressed in this sad tale of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who for decades gave up American secrets to Russia.
We begin with hot agent in training Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe, CRASH) on a stakeout, where he outshines the other trainees. He’s called in by senior agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney, KINSEY), who wants Eric to ride the desk of Hanssen, who is being reassigned to plan out the agency’s new computer security structure and needs to be watched because he is a sexual deviant. Eric keeps an eye on the cocky Hanssen, who on the surface appears to be a staunchly religious man dedicated to his family. Hanssen pushes Eric to embrace his Catholic faith and along with his wife Bonnie (Kathleen Quinlan, APOLLO 13) tries to push Eric’s lax protestant wife Juliana (Caroline Dhavernas, HOLLYWOODLAND) into their beliefs. Hanssen is blunt and can be demeaning when Eric slips up. He isn’t shy about sharing his distain with the politics of the FBI, which have kept him from being promoted to a higher level. Eric is torn about keeping secrets from his wife and spying on a boss he has come to respect until Burroughs reveals that Hanssen is a traitor.
Categories : Reviews, Thriller, Crime