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The Secret Agent (1996)

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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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bob Hoskins ... Verloc
Patricia Arquette ... Winnie
Gérard Depardieu ... Ossipon
Jim Broadbent ... Chief Inspector Heat
Christian Bale ... Stevie
Roger Hammond ... Mr. Michaelis
Eddie Izzard ... Vladimir
Ralph Nossek Ralph Nossek ... Yundt
Neville Phillips Neville Phillips ... Ticket Clerk
Elizabeth Spriggs ... Winnie's Mother
Peter Vaughan ... The Driver
Julian Wadham ... The Assistant Commissioner
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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:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$106,606, 31 December 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Bob Hoskins and Jim Broadbent previously appeared in Brazil (1985). See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
The Professor: I myself have no future. But I am a force.
The Professor: [stands and raises his glass] To the destruction of what is.
See more »

Connections

Version of Sabotage (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I myself have no future. But I am a force.
1 December 2007 | by lastliberalSee 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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