Directed: Billy Ray
Starring: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney
Ryan Phillippe is a new FBI agent assigned to get to know Chris Cooper, who is a traitor selling secrets to Russia since 1985, but there is no proof.
Based on a true story, which I didn’t realize until the very end of the movie. Since this major breach of government security and treason took place in 2001, I would have thought it would have been major news. I don’t remember hearing anything about it.
The story begins with Ryan Phillipe’s character, Eric O’Neill, trying hard to move up the chain in the FBI. He is recruited to start watching and journaling everything Chris Cooper’s character, Robert Hanssen, does so they can have some evidence against him. Hanssen is smart though and knows how to hide things, as well as being very paranoid, which works for him.
The movie plot is pretty simple and short. The most interesting thing are the characters. Cooper’s character has so many unlikeable traits, yet he makes the character intriguing enough that you can see how O’Neill is attracted and repulsed by this guy. He admires him in some ways while he can’t stand to be around him in other ways. Phillipe has been an actor that has always bugged me with his pillow lips non-acting. I actually forgot he was Ryan Phillipe and believed he was the character, which is very impressive. Maybe acting opposite Chris Cooper helped him with that.