Breach Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Covert actions, surreptitious secrets and espionage are ingredients for a good suspense film—-even more so when they are based on recent historical events.
On February 20, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest of long-time FBI agent Robert Hanssen and charged him with providing national secrets to Russia and the former Soviet Union. However, bringing down the United States’ most infamous spy proved to be a lengthy and challenging procedure.
In Breach, the FBI’s clandestine operations to catch the notorious mole in action are unfolded. Agent-in-training Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is assigned to a desk job in the basement office of Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper), a grumpy, mistrustful counterintelligence officer who works with Intel. Only weeks away from retirement, Robert is bitter about the lack of credibility the FBI has given to his findings on computer security issues. He isn’t too happy about the new clerk he’s been given either.
Admittedly Eric is also unsure about the career move. According to Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney) and other officials at FBI headquarters, Hanssen is under investigation for fraud, sexual deviancy and other highly classified concerns that may cause embarrassment to the nation. As an undercover operative, they want Eric to expose whatever dirt he can on his new boss. But despite Robert’s rough demeanor, Eric finds his respect growing for this man who seemingly devotes his life to daily religious worship, a loving family and the safety of his country. Before long, Eric starts to question what he should believe.
Only after Robert and his wife (Kathleen Quinlan) zealously begin to push their religious beliefs on the non-practicing Eric and his unconverted wife Juliana (Caroline Dhavernas) does the young clerk grow uneasy. The young couple’s marriage is further jeopardized by the time commitments of the new assignment and Eric’s inability to let Juliana in on the details of his work.
With so many unanswered questions surfacing, trust soon becomes a commodity every one wants yet no one is willing to give.
Considering the nature of the plot, the script is compelling and avoids much of the content it could have delved into. Still, audiences are subjected to the bloody execution of two Soviet spies, close-range gunfire, brief views of grainy homemade porno films, some sexual comments and a strong expletive. While adults may be intrigued by the rise and fall of Robert Hanssen, the infrequent but strong content issues in this film will likely breach most parents’ guidelines for family viewing.Starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release February 15, 2007. Updated April 2, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Breach rated PG-13? Breach is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence, sexual content and language
Although Robert Hanssen is a frequent attendee at church services, he is accused of entertaining strippers and prostitutes as well as making homemade porno videos. While most of his sexual practices are only talked about, some brief shots from the videos are shown. Two agents disobey Bureau policy by consuming alcohol while off duty. One of them drives while under the influence of alcohol and later wildly fires a gun in the direction of his partner. After two double agents are discovered, they are called back to their homeland and executed by a shot in the head. A man misuses his religious beliefs to coerce others to change their lifestyle. Infrequent vulgarities, terms of Deity, a homosexual slur and a strong expletive used in a non-sexual situation are also included in the script.
Page last updated April 2, 2009
More parents' guide for Breach after the break...
Breach Parents' Guide
Although Eric is anxious to become an FBI agent, he soon realizes the pressure that comes with the job. What effect does frequent lying have on his life? How does the secretive nature of his job affect his marriage? What other kinds of careers may put a strain on family and marital relationships?
Do you think that religion is portrayed fairly in this film? Is there a line between being a devoted practitioner of one’s religious beliefs and being overzealous?
How does confidence in others affect relationships? Is it always easy to tell who is trustworthy? What breaches in trust are depicted in this film?
To read the actual FBI press release information concerning the arrest of Robert Hanssen, go to
The most recent home video release of Breach movie is June 11, 2007. Here are some details…
DVD Release Date: 12 June 2007
The inner workings of Breach are revealed on this DVD release. Get tipped off by an audio commentary from writer/director Bill Ray and former FBI operative Eric O’Niell. Spy on alternate and deleted scenes (optional commentary is provided by writer/director Billy Ray and editor Jeffrey Ford). And/or, delve into a deeper investigation with three featurettes: Breaching the Truth, Anatomy of a Character, and The Mole (which originally aired on Dateline in 2001). Audio tracks are available in English and French (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
Related home video titles:
Chris Cooper often plays a rough-around-the-edges kind of character. In The Bourne Supremacy, he portrays a highly skilled agent that sets out to bring down one of his own men. In Seabiscuit, he takes on the role of a crusty, old horse trainer who is given a second chance to prove his skills.