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The Secret Agent (1996)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 1,796 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 29 user | 12 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

London of the late 19th century is a haven for political exiles of all sorts - refugees, partisans, anarchists. Verloc has made his living spying for the Russian government, an agent ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Ralph Nossek ...
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Storyline

London of the late 19th century is a haven for political exiles of all sorts - refugees, partisans, anarchists. Verloc has made his living spying for the Russian government, an agent provocateur of sorts, while simultaneously providing information to the London police, specifically Chief Inspector Heat. When the new Russian ambassador demands he prove his worth or lose his salary, Verloc sets off a tragic chain of events that involves his pretty young wife Winnie, her intellectually disabled brother Stevie, and a figure called the Professor, whose fascination with explosives and destruction makes him the person to call on when Verloc needs a bomb. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some moments of violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Oddly enough, after checking a tape recording of the Italian version of this movie, the name of Robin Williams was neither included on the titles or in the end crew and characters' list. See more »

Quotes

The Professor: Pull yourself together. Remorse is for the weak and weakness is the source of all evil on this Earth. There's a time coming - and it's gonna be sooner rather than later - when this will be understood by governments and individuals: that there can be no progress and no solutions until you make a rational decision to exterminate the weak.
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Referenced in Aliens vs. Predator 2 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I myself have no future. But I am a force.
1 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anyone looking for some exciting tale along the lines of the Bourne trilogy in a film named The Secret Agent is going to be disappointed.

What you have here is a dark and deep intellectual exercise in the actions of spies, anarchists, agent provocateurs, and the like in 19th Century England.

While Bob Hoskins (Unleashed, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) leads the cast, it is truly an ensemble film.

Hoskins is a man playing all sides. He is an anarchist, but in the employ of the Russians, and under the thumb of a local police inspector (Jim Broadbent). His wife (Patricia Arquette) only married him to gain protection for disabled brother (Christian Bale). When the Russian boss (Eddie Izzard) puts the pressure on, he has to act and he manages to kill the brother. Everything falls apart at that point, and it is where the film really gets interesting. So, if you bail before that, you miss it all.

One of the most interesting things in the film was his actions after his wife found out that her brother was killed. She is leaving, and he orders her to stay. He is stuffing his face while "consoling" her and sits on the couch. He then tells her, "I know what you need. Come over here." I hope this is not a reflection of the attitude of men towards women in this period, but I am afraid that it probably is. Anyway, it was what she needed, but not in the way he imagined.

Things do not end well in this film. There is a good performance by Gérard Depardieu (Cyrano de Bergerac, The Man in the Iron Mask) towards the end, and a great performance by Robin Williams throughout.

They must really like Conrad's story, as it has been done on TV a couple of times before this film. It is worth your time.


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