Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Rogue Agent

Based on true events, James Norton stars as charming conman Robert Hendy-Freegard who ruined several lives over the years while pretending to be an agent of MI5. While alluding to several of his victims, the film focuses on a lawyer (Gemma Arterton) he seduced and stole from who worked to find and bring him to justice. Not only did the conman steal from several of his victims, to many he applied psychological stress while introducing them to the spy life or inspiring fear that others were after them.

While Arterton and Norton are both fine in the roles, the biggest problem with Rogue Agent is the condensed account of Freegard's crimes shown isn't nearly as fascinating as a simple look over his Wikipedia page. As an introduction to the subject manner, it's of interest but barely scratches the surface of the damage the conman left in his wake. While Freegard is real, Arterton's character (who gets the most screentime) appears to be fictional to humanize the victimization and provide a hero to root for in a quest for justice.

Slow-paced, it's not a film that will immediately grab your attention but there's enough to the story that you'll likely be curious enough to see it through. The choice to make one of his (largely fictionalized in this case) victims the source of his downfall, while thematic, ultimately does more harm than good while turning her into an avenging angel lessening the role of those who did bring him to justice while also robbing time which could have been used to explore what made the man tick or showcase more of his victims.  Although the story behind Rogue Agent is quite rich, it's not a film that I'd suggest seeking out. That said, if you do run across it on cable or streaming and have nothing better to do it may be worth a couple hours of your time.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Rogue Agent
  • IMDb: link

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