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Hidden Agenda (1990)

When an American human rights lawyer is assassinated in Belfast, it remains for the man's girlfriend, as well as a tough, no nonsense, police detective to find the truth... which they soon ... See full summary »

Director:

Ken Loach

Writer:

Jim Allen
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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Frances McDormand ... Ingrid Jessner
Brian Cox ... Kerrigan
Brad Dourif ... Paul Sullivan
Mai Zetterling ... Moa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bernard Archard ... Sir Robert Neil
Maureen Bell Maureen Bell ... Mrs. Molloy
John Benfield ... Maxwell
Bernard Bloch Bernard Bloch ... Henri
Stephen Brigden Stephen Brigden ... Army major
Victoria D'Angelo Victoria D'Angelo ... Journalist
Kym Dyson Kym Dyson ... Carol
Michelle Fairley ... Teresa Doyle
Gerry Fearon Gerry Fearon ... Taxi driver
Llew Gardner Llew Gardner ... TV announcer
Ron Kavana Ron Kavana ... Musician
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Storyline

When an American human rights lawyer is assassinated in Belfast, it remains for the man's girlfriend, as well as a tough, no nonsense, police detective to find the truth... which they soon discover to be contained in an audio tape which the man had with him, exposing political manipulations at the highest levels of government. But such underlying agendas require careful considerations to avoid worse things than murder. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When a government seeks revenge...nobody is safe. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agenda Secreta See more »

Filming Locations:

Northern Ireland, UK See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,030,938
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale, Initial (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Halliwells states that the picture is a " . . . political film, based on actual events." See more »

Quotes

Sir Robert Neil: You know Ireland can be a wonderful place... if it wasn't for the Irish!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Face (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Young Ned of the Hill
Written and performed by Ron Kavana and Terry Woods
Published by Stiff Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A First Class Political Thriller
2 April 2009 | by timdalton007See all my reviews

Hidden Agenda has long been on my list of films to see. As a fan of the political thriller genre I was intrigued by its premise. Now, having finally found it and had the opportunity to see it I was presently surprised. The film surpassed my expectations and easily ranks amongst the best political thrillers I've seen.

The performances are the staring point of this phenomenal film. Frances McDormand gives a marvelous performance as American civil rights activist Ingrid Jessner as Brian Cox as Kerrigan, the top investigator investigating the death of Jessner's boyfriend. The result is that, together and separately, they give two highly watchable performances that keep your attention focused on the screen. There's also the supporting cast including Brad Dourif as the murdered boyfriend, Maurice Roëves as the mysterious army officer Harris who has all the secrets plus Bernard Archard and Patrick Kavanagh as two politicians at the heart of the film's conspiracy.

The film is, if nothing else, a conspiracy thriller. What may seem like an odd murder in Northern Ireland soon turns out to be mired in the politics of Thatcher era Britain. The film, while fictional, seems to be far too real for comfort. Writer Jim Allen has crafted a thriller that blends fact and fiction together and so well that the fine line between the two is blurred when it comes to the issues of 1980's Northern Ireland, how Thatcher got herself elected and how governments deal with terrorism. Of even greater surprise is that the plot doesn't overwhelm the dialogue. Unlike some political thrillers, in this film scenes come alive not just from the performances of the actors but from the words on the pages themselves. While it deals with 1980's Northern Ireland one can't help but see the relevant issues ever present in the film nearly twenty years on.

On top of the script there's the documentary like approach that makes the film too realistic for comfort. Clive Tickner's cinematography is the main reason this succeeds so well in that it never feels like a Hollywood film. The result is that (thankfully) one gets the feeling of being a fly on the wall for many of the scenes which makes the blurring of fact and fiction even more successful. Add on the realistic costume and production design along with the tight editing of Jonathon Morris and the result is an all too realistic thriller.

Hidden Agenda is what a political thriller should be. With its combination of fantastic performances, well written script, its realistic design work and especially its documentary like cinematography make it too realistic to be ignored. While it may deal with 1980's Britain in Northern Ireland it's a thriller with a message too strong to be ignored. It's a first rate and a must see for fans of the genre of the political thriller.


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