Rated 4.0

Director Billy Ray recounts the fall of FBI Agent Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper), who spied for the Russians for nearly 20 years before he was finally caught in 2001. The film (with a script by Ray, Adam Mazer and William Rotko) tells the story through the eyes of Hanssen’s assistant Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe), planted by the Bureau to spy on him (though without knowing exactly why at first). Ray focuses on the duel between the seasoned, suspicious Hanssen and the raw, earnest O’Neill, resisting the urge to make Hanssen the betrayed victim, but not shrinking from the personal and emotional cost of bringing him down. The film is a showcase for the two main actors: Cooper rigid, wary and tightly-wound; and Phillippe, if anything, even better in his less showy but considerably more challenging role.