A couple of weeks ago, I rented and watched the movie "Breach." It is based on the true story of an infamous American traitor, Robert Hannsen, who as an FBI agent sold information to the Soviets/Russians until his arrest in 2001. He is now serving a life sentence with no parole at the Supermax in Colorado.
The movie is "based" on the real story and so I know there are quite a few liberties taken but all in all it followed the main thread of history. I've heard that a lot of folks disappointed with the film thought they were going to watch some sort of spy mystery-- I suppose the same folks left "Titanic" shocked that the ship went down... Anyway, I did enjoy the movie, although I am having some trouble sorting out my feelings concerning the role of the Catholic Faith played in it (and in real life).
Hannsen was (is?) a member of Opus Dei, as is a lot of his family. He apparently led a fairly strict prayer life and projected this overtly to coworkers. He was (is?) also a pretty egregious sexual pervert. These aspects were all central to the screenplay of "Breach." Hannsen was essentially taken down by Eric O'Neill, a young FBI analyst who is also portrayed as a Catholic man (although I haven't yet found as much info about his real life...).
Here is my dilemma: I found myself feeling sympathetic to Hannsen, even though I knew the Titanic sunk and I knew Hannsen was a traitor. As the movie unfolded, O'Neill questions his superiors about why Hannsen is a target, because they've told him that Hannsen is being watched due to his perversions and unacceptable chat room activities. However, Hannsen behaves as a very strict and orthodox Catholic, with icons decorating his office (including a Crucifix on the wall that he would pray at daily). There is no evidence of any perversion. Hannsen chides O'Neill for ogling attractive female coworkers and challenges him to attend Mass and bring his non-Catholic wife along as well. It's clear that until more information comes his way, O'Neill begins to admire Hannsen and thinks Hannsen is getting a raw deal. Midway through the film, I agreed.
Then it all came crashing down on both O'Neill and me. The FBI revealed that Hannsen was really being investigated for selling secrets to the Reds-- BUT, by the way, the bit about sexual perversions was still true, and late in the movie this is demonstrated in a really icky way. Well, of course Hannsen was a despicable man who betrayed his country and his faith in several ways.
Until I read a little more about the real Robert Hannsen, I honestly thought that his projection of Catholic faith was part of a "cover" that he used to look squeaky clean while doing the traitor and pervert things. Not true-- in real life Hannsen IS an outwardly strict Catholic as I mentioned above, but having done these very bad things. And yet I still feel positive about the "good Catholic" part of Hannsen from the movie scenes in which he preached the right orthodoxy about the Faith. I suppose I was taken in by him, like a lot of people were for two decades and in many ways.
I don't have any deeper thoughts than this to share, but I would be interested to hear from anyone else who's seen this movie. We're all used to seeing Catholics portrayed in their most "flawed" state in the movies. Here is another example, but it turns out it's all true in the case of Robert Hannsen in "Breach."