New to Netflix UK from today, and heading into US cinemas and onto AMC+ on the 12th August, is the British crime thriller, Rogue Agent. Inspired by a true story, the movie – directed by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson – stars Gemma Arterton and James Norton, and follows the tale of a young woman who enters into a relationship with a conman, who claims to be an undercover spy.
In the movie, Alice Archer is a young, successful lawyer. One day, on the way to her office she catches the attention of Robert Hansen – a local car salesman.
Over the next couple of days, Robert gets close to Alice, and the pair start dating. But after Robert begins to act suspicious, Alice asks a private investigator to look into his background.
The private investigator cannot find any trace of Robert, which worries Alice in the process. When she confronts Robert about this discovery, he informs her his real name is Robert Freegard and he is an undercover agent working for MI5.
Although it seems a little unlikely, Alice believes Robert’s story about being a spy, and they continue their relationship. But as time passes, Alice begins to suspect he is not telling the truth about his identity, and there may be many skeletons in his closet.
Prior to watching this movie, I was unaware of the worrying background to this story. As noted above, the film is inspired by true events, which relate to the real-life crimes of confidence trickster, Robert Hendy-Freegard.
His story has been previously covered in the 2005 Channel 5 documentary, The Spy Who Stole My Life, as well as the 2022 Netflix docu-series, The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman. To date, I have seen neither of these documentaries, however, after watching Rogue Agent, I will be checking them out shortly.
As for Rogue Agent itself, well, this is a dramatization of the Hendy-Freegard story. James Norton takes on the role of Freegard, while Gemma Arterton plays the part of one of his victims, and as dreadful as the real-life events are, this movie is a fascinating watch.
From the moment I pressed ‘play’ on the film, I was hooked. Norton is superb as the smooth, yet oily conman, while Arterton is excellent as Alice, playing a woman who becomes deeply impacted by the circumstances that surround her.
Together the pair make this a compelling watch. I believe Rogue Agent would be an interesting movie regardless of the cast, simply because of the story being told, but the Norton/Arterton combo gives it the edge.