Directed by: Kai Barry
Starring: James Floyd, Anthony LaPlagia, Naomi Merlant
A young man called Alex is recruited by a covert agency working as contractors to the CIA, and sent to Serbia under the wing of a veteran operative called Daniel who begins to show him the ropes. On his first time participating on a mission however, Alex makes a mistake which leads to the rest of his team being killed.
Finding himself on the run in a strange country, Alex tries to piece together what actually happened that fateful night, with only a sound recording and a local girl called Anja to help him...
Rogue Agent, also known as Newcomer, is without doubt one of my favoruite films of the year so far. It's no blockbuster, but it is a really taut and effective espionage thriller.
There is next to no exposition in this film. Writer and director Kai Barry expects the audience to glean what background it needs as the film progresses. The recruitment process is probably the only time we're given a bit of detail, to give insight to the reason why Alex was recruited.
In Serbia, Alex is dropped into a team of seasoned professionals who are very wary of having a rookie in their midst, although Daniel stands up for him. Alex is good at memorising things quickly, taking note of details of his surroundings - a talent which will come in handy later - but at the same time, he sometimes overlooks the obvious.
A good chunk of the film deals with the audio recording of the mission as it goes wrong. There are a lot of different sounds on the tape and it takes Alex a long time to work out what they mean. So, as the story unfolds, so does Alex's understanding of what happened, warping his perspective each time. There are so many details which even we as the viewer take for granted, until its pointed out that actually those details are a bit weird.
Rogue Agent is a pretty brutal and cold-hearted film, and therefore probably closer to the reality than most spy thrillers. One of the film's most harrowing scenes is when Alex is interrogated by the CIA (they're a little suspicious that Alex, the rookie, is the only one still alive, and that he's a bit hazy on certain details). This scene works on so many levels. First the concept of the torture used, secondly James Foley really selling the excruciating pain Alex is suffering, but most of all the demeanour of the interrogator. You really get the sense that he's used this method many times before and knows it gets fast results.
To say much more about the film would do the discovery of it a disservice. Suffice to say that Rogue Agent is a tight, efficient thriller which won't disappoint. Highly recommended.
9 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
ROGUE AGENT is available now for Digital Download via i-tunes - you can find it HERE - and will be released on DVD in September 2016.