Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent

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Released 1996

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Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent

Movie Summary

Director:
Christopher Hampton
Released:
1996
Rating:
Not Available
Agent provocateur Verloc is employed by a foreign embassy to stir up political activity amongst political dissidents who have sought asylum in the relatively free atmosphere of Britain. Tolerated because they pose no real threat, the group is ready to condemn the government, but too lazy to commit to any acts of violence. Keen to provoke the British rule, the embassy enlists Verloc to organize an act of terrorism which will be blamed on the anarchists. Verloc masquerades as a pornographic bookshop owner in the muddy heart of London, living with his unsuspecting wife Winnie and her brother Stevie. Wishing for a happier life for her beloved yet troubled brother, Winnie settled on Verloc. However, when Verloc's mission goes horribly wrong, the repercussions for all are tragically different from those the agent provocateur ever intended.

Metacritic Score

  • 40

    Variety Justin Chang

    A dour study of terrorism, 1880s style, The Secret Agent represents an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's only London-based novel, the fidelity of which to the original text does not yi...

  • 30

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    The movie, which imagines its principal characters as metaphorically ticking time bombs, never convincingly portrays their passions.

  • 25

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This project is dead in the water. Read the book. Better still, read "Victory."

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    More Info About This Movie

    Categories

    Drama, Suspense

    Themes

    Espionage, 90s, Thrillers