Monday, February 19, 2007

Breach is great!

I'm movie buff and a political junkie who is a fan of spy literature (fiction and non-fiction). So it's not surprising that went to see and enjoyed Breach in which Chris Cooper does a fantastic job playing the Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who was convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. To say that Hanssen was (is) a complex character is an understatement. A self-proclaimed patriot and anti-communist ideologue who betrayed his country spying for Moscow and a devout Catholic who engaged in kinky sex. Cooper captures all of that in a way that explains (to some extent) why he was able to deceive everyone and for so long. Director Billy Ray gets our attention without exploiting the material: no kinky sex or car chase scenes and very little violence. But yet everything hits you straight in the face. Bottom Line: Why did Hanssen do it? Certainly not for ideology. While money probably played a role, the main reason had to do with boredom and ego. The guy felt suffocated by not-very-brilliant superiors and wanted to prove to himself that he was smarter than everyone else.


Anonymous said...

It's possible Hansson did not see his devout religion as irreconcilable with his treachery. It's possible , if not likely, that he was intrigued by the idea of paradox and this mixed inside of him with his ego and resentment and some mental illness.

What did you think of The Good Shepherd?

Global Paradigms said...

I think you're right. We all have ways of solving our cognitive dissonance. I enjoyed the Good Sepherd. I've read so much about the era... I thought that the movie was too much of an anti-WASP project (in fact, both the OSS and the CIA had hired many Jews and also Mormons, not to mention Catholics). And the idea that you needed a mole to leak the plans for the Bay of Pigs. All of the Cubans in Florida had known about it.

Anonymous said...

The whole WASP part was way over the top, but it didn't seem like the writer meant to be anti-Wasp, but that he had some sort of fixation on that aspect to the degree it detracted from other things. You are correct that Jews and Catholics too (You are correct about lots of things), but maybe he felt that would dilute or complicate an already complicated plot.

Maybe you should tie your shoe!

Anonymous said...

Roth's metaphors were confusing to many people - A case can be made that was necessary to convey the cryptic nature of the secret world, but it probably was overdone by him and it affected too many people in the audience.

Like you, we read a lot about the era (though probably less than you) and were able to see what stories he was mixing and matching. But even on the wiki page, they have a number of errors about certain things meant.

Doc - Do you have a top ten list of fiction/ non -fiction/ film . with respect to espionage?

Lambert said...

The writer is totally fair, and there's no doubt.
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