The Secret Agent
Screenplay: Christopher Hampton from the Joseph Conrad novel
Director: Christopher Hampton
Released: 1996, Fox Searchlight/Capitol Films
Verloc (Bob Hoskins) is owner of a corner shop in London, although all is not as it seems. The shop is a mere front for more dubious enterprises – selling pornography and a meeting place for an anarchist organisation plotting to overthrow the British Government. Verloc however, does not himself hold the anarchist’s beliefs and is a double agent for the Russians – passing information about Soviet exiles to them, whilst at the same time, passing information about the anarchists to Police Inspector Heat (Jim Broadbent). In his big-screen debut, Eddie plays Vladimir, a Russian spy-master, who orders Verloc to “instigate a series of outrages” that will be blamed on the anarchists, the first of which is the bombing of the Greenwich Observatory.
Patricia Arquette and Christian Bale star as Veloc’s wife, Winnie, and her mentally retarded brother, Stevie and Robin Williams (although in some listings, the role was credited to a George Spelvin) is The Professor, the man recruited by Verloc to plant the bombs needed to incriminate the anarchists, which brings tragedy to everyone involved.
“Brilliantly smarmy in his film debut.” Screen International
“It even boasts a glorious cameo appearance by Eddie Izzard….” The Independent