When successful litigation lawyer Alice Archer (Gemma Arterton – The King’s Man) catches car dealer Robert Freegard’s eye one evening, her entire life gets turned upside down. From the beginning of their fast paced relationship, Alice senses something’s off, as if Robert’s hiding things. When she hires a private investigator to dig into her partner’s past, she realises nothing is what it seems.
Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson direct an old fashioned drama thriller, with a whiff of 90s sleuthing. From the strong opening sequence in which we get put onto the wrong path regarding Robert’s MI5 cover up, to the first introduction of Alice, the film is paced as a romantic novel, until it isn’t.
Written by both directors, and Michael Bronner (The Mauritanian), the dialogue could’ve used a bit more finesse, but thanks to the devoted cast this all becomes an afterthought. Arterton delivers as usual, commanding your attention whenever she graces the screen, even if her on screen chemistry with Norton (Little Women) doesn’t feel as explosive as it should be. Norton does fit the part of gaslighting swindler, making you hate him more and more as the story goes on. True standout, and talent to watch, is in my opinion Marisa Abela (Industry), who plays one of Freegard’s victims, trusting him in believing she’ll be an MI5 spy if she complies with his demands. An arresting performance that feels both genuine and heartbreaking.
Rogue Agent is a surreal, slow burn tale of psychological manipulation and intimidation, that feels a bit too much like a cheap 90s movie made for tv, but one that has enough flesh on its bones to leave you satisfied.
OPENING IN THEATERS AND ON AMC+ AUGUST 12
Reviewed online (screener provided by studio), August 10, 2022. Running time: 115 min.
PRODUCTION: An IFC Films release of a Rabbit Track Pictures & The Development Partnership production, with the support of Anhinga Media & Split Prism Media, in association with Great Point Media. Producers: Michael Bronner, Gina Carter, Kitty Kaletsky, Herbert Kloiber, James Norton & Robert Taylor. Executive producers: Robert Halmi, Declan Lawn, Olivia Pahl, Adam Patterson, Jim Reeve & Harold van Lier.
CREW: Directors: Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson. Writers: Michael Bronner, Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson. Cinematography: Larry Smith. Editing: Mags Arnold. Music: Hannah Peel.
CAST: Gemma Arterton, James Norton, Sarah Goldberg, Marisa Abela, Freya Mavor, Shazad Latif, Julian Barratt, Jimmy Akingbola, Edwina Finley Dickerson & Chris Wilson.