In THE SECRET AGENT, Bob Hoskins is Verlock, an agent who spies on the Russians in London in the 1880’s. Verlock holds secret meetings and then reports to a police inspector, who allows Verlock to run a pornography shop. In his personal life, Verlock is devoted to his young wife, Winnie, who keeps Verlock happy with sex and food. She keeps her dim-witted brother Stevie by her side. Trapped by the Russians, Verlock goes about planning a bombing. Unknown to Winnie , he involves the innocent Stevie in his plans. When the bomb explodes in Stevie’s hands, Stevie is killed. Shaken with desperation, Verlock tells the English police and tells Winnie he has to go into hiding. Winnie expresses her anger in violence.
Despite pervasive darkness, the film has a genteel air about it. The strongest aspect of the film is the characterization of Verlock. Apart from the violence and some sexual situations, the film is polite and clean. The anarchy and political ramblings are few and far between to make this any semblance of a political film. Rather, the film tells the story of an inept spy, and the intimate workings of his marriage into a particularly strong novel of its day.
(Pa, L, VV, SS, N) Pagan worldview; 6 obscenities; moderate violence such as an explosion with some gore including body remains scattered on a tree, a severed head, murder, & a stabbing; 3 sexual situations, running a pornography shop, & implied pornography sales; miscellaneous immorality including revenge & implied parental abuse