Rated 4.0

The year had gotten off to such a slow start at the movies, I fully expected something could be wrong with this film. Why would they release it in February, a virtual cinematic dead zone? How about so we could see some great moviemaking among the ruins? This is one of the better spy movies I’ve ever seen, right up there with The Falcon and the Snowman. Chris Cooper needs to be remembered at awards time a year from now for his amazing portrayal of Robert Hanssen, one of the most notorious traitors in American history. This guy is scary, a soulless hypocrite who sells secrets to the Russians and gets people killed in the process. Ryan Phillippe delivers strong work as Eric O’Neill, an FBI agent wannabe who is basically instructed to spy upon a spy as his assistant. Laura Linney, who can just be so bad at times, is excellent as O’Neill’s superior. The film is a bit heavy handed in spots, but whenever it drags, Cooper comes to the rescue with virtually every moment he spends on the screen. This is a great performance.