The Secret Agent

The Secret Agent

DVD - 2016
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The Russians are furious with the English establishment's indifference to the anarchist threat gripping the rest of Europe. So Verloc, a Russian spy, is assigned a mission: blow up the Greenwich Observatory and make it look like a terrorist attack to provoke a crackdown. Should he fail, Verloc's real identity as a spy could be exposed to his vicious comrades

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h
Heyst
Dec 09, 2017

toby is absolutely great -- what a great performance. rarely does a performance add to a great novel -- toby is superb -- adding to what is already a great work of art. fully expected to hate this production. never underestimate a great actor.

l
lindy919
Oct 07, 2017

A very underwhelming production. None of the characters are at all likeable and the scope of the plot is so minor in comparison with today that its almost laughable. It lacked emotion from the actors and suspense from the director. The best scene is when the excruciatingly annoying kid blows himself up with the bomb. Oops, I mean, SPOILER ALERT - The best scene is when the excruciatingly annoying kid blows himself up with the bomb.

A rich production that is quite good. Not great, but quite good. Worth a look.

s
Shellie1_us
Aug 22, 2017

Hitchcock did it better. I enjoyed the costumes, and scenery.

d
dthornbrugh
Jun 13, 2017

A very solid rendition of one of the essential texts for understanding terrorism. The usual impeccable performances one expects from Brit actors in BBC production. An aside: When captured, Teddy Kozinsky the Unabomber had a much-read copy of the original novel by Conrad, which I think is as relevant today as it was when first published, if not more so.

This is a three-episode BBC TV serial based on Joseph Conrad's tremendous novel THE SECRET AGENT (1907). The first two episodes drag to the point of painfulness, but then the final episode hits the bull's-eye that Conrad intended. We are all grist in the mill when it comes to the machinations of great political powers. The reason why this production is so timely, and what a shame that it is so poor-to-mediocre, is that while THE SECRET AGENT pertains to the shadow play of anarchists at the turn of century, it could just as well be about Al Qaeda or Islamic State now. Rather than Verloc going to get his instructions from the Russian embassy, it could have been Khuram Butt going to get his marching orders from the Saudi embassy.

h
hgibbins
May 25, 2017

Rather good story, with a few good twists and turns. Ending however was fairly predicable.

g
gloogai
Apr 07, 2017

I enjoyed this. An engrossing story that explores in detail the personal relationships within a family that is ultimately destroyed by power struggles between great empires.

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

The latest BBC rendition of the Conrad cult classic, with minor changes but remains to be a dreary tale in late Victorian London that could have reflected some chaotic migrant communities around the world today. A fictional account of a bomb explosion in Greenwich Park Observatory on 15 February 1894, through a bunch of characters who told of deep personal beliefs, gender and class disparities, terrorist cell, foreign espionage (yes, it was the Russian meddlers,) police and criminal relationship. Behind it all, is the drama of a family driven to do what they did in the social currents of the day.

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j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

***Spoiler Alert***
Haven't you guessed what I was driven to do?
===
Doesn't look the part. Starving proletariat, desperate anarchist, really? I inherited you from my predecessor, and I'm not sure I really know why.
===
Seven years ago, I loved a man. Son of a butcher. 25 shillings a week he brought home -- but how was he to take on a girl with an ailing mother and a poor simple brother? I had to find the courage to slam the door in his face.
===
Do you know the most frequent customers to my shop are from Parliament and the pulpit? The men who uphold the social order of this country are not only rank hypocrites, but their tastes... beyond the limit. I'd have them dragged out into plain sight and torn apart. Their skin and their pretence laid bare.

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

The detonator is part mechanical, part chemical. Now, this pressing of the ball, that starts everything rolling.
-What? And lead to your own destruction?
And yours... and his and God knows how many more besides. As for myself, I am the least of it.
-What use would you be?
I will have served my purpose.
-Oh, I've no doubt the newspapers will give you a very good obituary.
Chief Inspector Heat, "implacable enemy of terror". The man who kept us safe in our beds. But you'd be buried alongside me. Mark no doubt your friends will make an effort to sort us out as much as possible. Give this up. To deal with me, you'd require sheer, naked, inglorious heroism. Do you possess such? You can't win this game. We're too many for you!

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

Well, it's a building, so it needn't be particularly... sanguinary. And you'll have enlisted your friends in the plot, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Of course, it would be symbolism, but at the same time, it would be sheer, incomprehensible, random madness, without regards for limits or sense. Pure destruction. An intention to make a clean sweep of the whole social creation. And in that madness... is true terrorism.
===
No death, just destruction? What, you will be a conscientious terrorist, will you? Well, that won't wash, not with me, Verloc. I prefer to give my stuff to people who are deadly. People who have character. Who have no illusions about what it is they are in.
===

Circles! Circles, ... Mr Ossipon!
-Now... (Counts softly in french) 22.
21!
-Then have you got room for one more?
One more!

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

We don't just want warnings, we don't just want things stopped, we want things started.
===
This country is absurd, with its sentimental regard for individual liberty. Harbouring convicted terrorists? It's intolerable
===

There is a conference in Milan on the suppression of political crime. The British think they're immune.
===
Struggle and warfare is the condition of private ownership. It is fatal to itself.
-Oh, I see. Capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction? So, therefore, we just sit back and do nothing?
===
It's just a fairytale. It's just a bunch of silly men saying the first thing that comes into their heads. Isn't that so, Anton? Words, that's all. Bunch of silly men.

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

Then why are you here?
-I want to see your guilt. Look at me! How can you live with yourself? Look at that. Look! Look! ... She knows. She knows. Agh! She's waiting for you!
===
And if things haven't worked out so badly for Stevie -- what about yourself? Are you as included?
-Despite what you said, my marriage is real, Mother. Despite what you thought, we are a true family. Nothing will ever get in the way of that.
===
You can't pin my arms to my sides, so use your bullets, Chief Inspector. Be ruthless. Slaughter me.
-What, and let the public think that you lot deserve to be treated like that? Do you honestly think this state will meet murder with murder?
And morality will disintegrate in its very temple. You understand the game.
===
Prison has made you scared of your own shadow! Seeking to betray us all!
===
I didn't realise you were such a jealous person.
-It's just some people don't deserve what comes their way.

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

Verloc. A foreign conspiracy to undermine our morale, our law. A political cause celebre taken away. Now, the only way to be political about it is to say it wasn't political at all -- to say we don't have that kind of violence here.
-There's still the Professor, sir.
Just put it out that we're still looking for her. The berserk wife of the man who ran the questionable little shop on Brett Street. As for the Professor, I've got a different plan.
-And Ossipon?
A domestic drama, Chief Inspector.
-Did you let them go?
Your sense of natural justice getting the better of the law? Pragmatism taking over?
- I don't think I'm that kind of policeman, sir.
===
This has to look conspicuous, Heat. Show them how serious we are about it.
-You had other plans for Verloc yesterday.
That was yesterday.
===

Look, this... this deaf-and-dumb act, it's gone too far. At least his troubles are over now, whereas ours are just beginning.

j
jimg2000
Mar 27, 2017

The law can't punish me any more. Have pity, for God's sake.
===
I promise you, madam... your son felt no pain.
- But you cannot say the same for Winnie.
===
"British values," he stated, "must be protected from foreign interference."
===
Are the hopeful... always to be crushed... by those who do not have the courage of that virtue? Do the strong simply entrench their strength in society at the expense of the weak? Are the imprisoned always to wait for their release and their forgiveness? Is society simply a version... of that brutal prison I spent my last 15 years in? Do those in chains simply await the end of their sentence -- their far-from-glorious deliverance? Or is there a better institution that we can be founded on? Where justice will open up its loving arms to the innocent. Where the strong will help the weak. None abandoned or forgotten. Pity and compassion prevailing. A world of welfare, improvement, and rehabilitation for all.

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