Rouge Agent Review – Riveting, A Must See Thriller

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Rouge Agent, from IFC Films, weaves an astonishing true story of a serial con artist who presented himself as MI5 Agent recruiting freelance operatives and ultimately terrorizing his victims, extorting from their families, and destroying their lives.

The film opens to voice over reporting of another arrest at a local college in the English countryside where the Irish Republican Army, (IRA), an independent domestic terrorist organization, who wanted to end British rule in Northern Ireland, had been recruiting and that the enemy may have infiltrated the college town where this story begins.


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Robert Freegard, played by James Norton, who appears at the door of a local pub, and in minutes is hired on as a bartender. This gives him the advantage when determining marks; a bartender is everyone's best friend. After some time, he convinces three impressionable, and politically innocent, college kids that the IRA is operating out of their college and he, as an officer in MI5, has the power to recruit freelancers to aid and assist in the surveillance and capture of IRA militants.

After six weeks of brainwashing, these three become pawns in a longer game. It was well-known that MI5 had been hiring freelancers however, the general questions of pay for services, never seemed to be a part of the equation.

These three Sophie Jones, played by Marisa Abela, Mae Hansen, played by Freya Mavor, and Ian, played by Rob Malone, were obedient and given over to the belief that this man, who showed them no proof and provided them with no compensation, was a member of the MI5.

After the initial ruse was completed, he takes it to the next level, rousing them up at 2:30am with a belief, while they are still groggy, that they have been comprised and the blood-thirsty IRA militants were on their way to kill them. Essentially, he kidnaps them by deception.


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The story then picks up nine years later, with savvy Anne Archer, played by Gemma Arterton, a corporate lawyer in London. She is smart, savvy, sophisticated, a little jaded by the corporate life and not one persuaded by any person with a good line. She doesn't want to be bothered with the mundane.

So, when Rob, who has moved up from low level hits, recruiting from the English countryside pub high level marks, recruiting from a list of luxury clients from his new job as a luxury car salesman, approaches her on the street, she gives him the brush off. As she walks past the auto dealer to reach her home, the two see each other daily.

One morning, when she is extremely hungover from partying with the clients, she stops in to apologize for her rude brush off. He offers to drive her to work. So, by the time she arrives at her job, he knows her work address, the fact that she drinks to excess, her home address, and the type of car she owns.


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Even though she admits dating him would be slumming, she decides to give him a chance anyway and the two agree to meet for dinner. Of course, he stands her up, while all her responses are correct, Rob, who is an expert con, gets past her by playing the sympathy card. Soon, he moves from the sympathy card play to the honey pot scam and is intriguing enough that Anne is caught between her desire to expose him and curiosity.

So, she has him checked out and finds he is a ghost. No credit history, no information at all. A variety of name combinations are used which provide a little more information. She seems to turn her back on those she once trusted implicitly and lean toward the clear deception possibly believing she could change him. Soon, she is pulled off track, caught up in the cat and mouse of the relationship, her work begins to suffer, and he convinces her to bankroll a business venture.

This sets up the third act and riveting conclusion.


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Inspired by true events, Rouge Agent highlights the power of mental manipulation. The use of mind control tactics to subdue and sooth the clear red flags, even those highly educated fall prey to the scam. Rouge Agent draws viewers into this web of deceit, shocks with the level of control Freegard has over his victims, as if every element of common sense has been drained from them and replaced by this man's con game.

Spellbinding and captivating, Rouge Agent spins a tale of lies, wickedness, deceit, and destructive evil followed by a determined resolve. The ensemble cast deliver convincing, resonating, character driven performances.

Rouge Agent, premieres on AMC+, and opens in select theaters on Friday, August 12, 2022.

 

Country: England.

Runtime: 115 minutes.

Release Date: August 12, 2022.

Director: Declan Lawn, Adam Patterson.

Writer: Michael Bronner.

Cast: Gemma Arterton, James Norton, Sarah Goldberg, Sarah Goldberg, Freya Mavor, Shazad Latif, Julian Barrett, Jimmy Akingbola, Edwina Findley, Rob Malone.

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