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The Secret Agent (1996)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 1,702 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 29 user | 11 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 goverment, an agent ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Ralph Nossek ...
Neville Phillips ...
Elizabeth Spriggs ...
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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 goverment, an agent provacateur 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 retarded 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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First full length cinema film of Eddie Izzard. See more »

Quotes

[first title card]
Title Card: In the 1880's -unlike today- London was a haven for political refugees of all nationalities. They were kept under constant surveillance by their embassies as well as by Scotland Yard. This was fertile soil for every kind of conspiracy and betrayal.
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Connections

Referenced in Aliens vs. Predator 2 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece movie version of a great work of art by Joseph Conrad.
26 August 2004 | by (Greenville, North Carolina) – See all my reviews

Joseph Conrad was a visionary. He realized that the society in which we live is imperfect and hypocritical. Over one hundred years ago he realized, as did Herman Melville and other great thinkers, that women do not enjoy an equal stature with men in society. So he chose to write a great novel that deals with this issue both subtly and forcefully. The Secret Agent is not what it may seem to some to be upon first reading or viewing -- i.e., a spy thriller. On the contrary, it is an in-depth analysis and portrayal of the relative powerlessness of most women in society. It does not preach. It does not advocate. Conrad leaves it up to the reader (or viewer in the case of the excellent movie version) to draw whatever conclusions are pertinent for that person. Thus it is art, because it creates an enduring impression that seems to come from the reader's or viewer's own mind.

The movie version is superbly acted by a cast of master actors who quite clearly are very pleased to be participating with each other in creating this masterpiece movie. One gets the impression that each of the "lucky" actors has great respect for the book and its author and its messages, much as many Shakespearean players do when they "give their all" for the play.

The result is a realistic heart-wrenching tragedy. This may explain why it is not favored among common moviegoers that want and expect a Hollywood happy ending. Instead they get the real world, superbly depicted.

If you want fun, don't view this film. If you want to be challenged intellectually and ethically, then by all means watch it several times. And then tell your serious-minded friends and acquaintances about the existence of this movie. They will thank you!

Professor JimBob


32 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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