The Agent (tbc)

The View Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/09/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 82 mins

Watchable, low-budget British drama that doesn't quite escape its stage play origins but just about succeeds thanks to a strong script and superb performances from its two leads.

What's it all about?
Directed by Lesley Manning, The Agent is based on the stage play by Martin Wagner (who adapted his play for the screen) and stars Stephen Kennedy as Stephen Parker, a struggling author whose first book bombed and who's pinning all his hopes for a domestic reconciliation with his wife (Aislinn Mangan) on the sale of his just-completed second novel.

However, when his indifferent agent Alex (William Beck) both dismisses his novel and tries to offload him as a client, Stephen takes matters into his own hands and blackmails his agent into aggressively selling the novel as if he really believed in it.

The Good
Stephen Kennedy and William Beck both played their roles in the stage production, so it's perhaps unsurprising that they deliver such strong performances. Kennedy, in particular, is excellent as a man who's desperately trying to stop his life unraveling before his eyes, whilst Beck is terrific as the cocky, superficial, probably-hasn't-even-read-the-book Alex.

The script is well written and takes several well-aimed digs at both agents in general and the current state of the book industry in particular, even if it does at times come across like Wagner's revenge against all the agents he's been wronged by in the past. It also packs in a couple of surprisingly dark twists and resists the obvious lure of sentimentality (for example, during the revelation about Alex's father's writing ambitions).

The Bad
Having said that, the film never really escapes its stage play origins, despite token attempts to open the action out by having the characters go for a walk in the park and so on. Similarly, there are a couple of special effects shots (a moving photograph, letters disappearing from a page) that don't really add anything to the film except to scream, “Look! This isn't a play!”

Worth seeing?
The Agent is a watchable, well acted and sharply written drama that's like a micro-budget cousin of films like The King of Comedy or Swimming With Sharks. Worth seeing.

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The Agent (tbc)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 06:20

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