“Rogue Agent” is a vengeful drama with a subtle touch of romance that is based on true events. And the film rightfully keeps the action properly weaved into a plot that is inspired by a real-world event. Oftentimes, the motif of tension in such true-story-based plots tends to take it closer to reality. But “Rogue Agent” is able to keep things steady and give us the time we need to process what’s going on. This is what makes it interesting. The actors do their parts very well, which further adds to the film’s effectiveness. “Rogue Agent” is certainly a worthy watch and makes for a perfect binge-watch.
What Happens In ‘Rogue Agent’?
The year is 1993. An MI5 spy recruits three college students and tells them to spy on suspected terrorists who are posing as students at their very college. One night, all three are woken up in the middle of the night by the spy who tells them that they have been compromised and need to escape. All four leave in a car.
Nine years have passed. Lawyer Alice Archer (Gemma Arterton) meets luxury car salesman Robert Freegard (James Norton) in London. They start dating and Alice finds in herself a new person, thanks to Robert and his “random” -ness. She starts to daydream and agrees to open a luxury car leasing business with him.
However, there are two things that prevent their story from turning into a romance. One is a mysterious girl named Sophie, whose call Robert gets; the other is the investigator Alice hires to do a “check” on Robert, who tells her that Robert “is a ghost.” After confronting Robert about this, he tells her that he is an MI5 agent. Alice’s trust for Robert grows stronger, and her love gets deeper. Until one day, Alice receives an email about a hefty amount withdrawn from her and Robert’s joint bank account, and the account has been closed. She hadn’t received any prior notification. Nor did Robert tell her anything. Then, he is gone.
What follows is Alice’s search for Robert, which also brings to light the truth that he isn’t really a spy. He is something worse. Will Alice be able to save Robert, or will he manage to escape only to woo another woman into his trap? “Rogue Agent” is an engaging thriller nicely crafted within a bubble of espionage.
Fact Or Fiction?
The deceit in “Rogue Agent,” much like in Robert Freegard, does manage to toy with us about whether he is telling the truth or not. And this is what makes it surreal to think that the events in the film are based on true events. One guy calls himself a spy and goes around playing with people and stealing money from them. Moreover, the fact that he isn’t really available all the time to anyone, especially Alice, is what makes his spy story a strong alibi. At the beginning of the film, we are told that in the 1990s, the Irish Republican Army waged a bombing campaign in England and MI5 responded by recruiting freelance spies to inform on suspected terrorists. This is a true occurrence. And Robert Freegard is intelligent enough to realize that he could use it to his advantage to steal money. He is a good talker and knows how to make his way in or out of situations. He knows that his disguise as a spy will prevent his victims from questioning his motives. But that is only until he meets Alice. However, between his conning the three college students and meeting with Alice, 9 years have passed. So, it is clear that he has made a fool out of a lot of people by playing his spy card all that time. This would possibly mean that he has made a lot of money. We do not know where all this money is or where he keeps it. Moreover, the fact that he uses an alias also makes it impossible to track him. We do not know anything about his life; there is no credit record or any account linked to him until Alice creates one for their car-leasing business. This is thought-provoking and makes us really wonder if he is an undercover spy of sorts, only contactable physically by the body he works for, a “ghost,” basically.
Revenge From Not a Victim
After finding out that she has been conned by Robert, she voicemails him, saying, “You have not broken me.” And what follows is the extent to which she goes, adamant about bringing Robert to his knees. Perhaps, it is more her self-respect as a career-driven, confident, and proud woman than her desire for revenge that makes her do all that she did to find Robert’s whereabouts. Her confidence is made evident during the first meeting she has with her client. And even though she had lost a lot of money, which in itself can lead people to lose hope in life, let alone track down the person who stole it, she managed to not brood but to catch the guy and not give up till she did. She is not the victim; she is the winner.
‘Rogue Agent’ Ending Explained: Does the Longplayer Stop Playing?
One day, Robert takes Alice to a light where he shows her an instrument called the Longplayer. The Longplayer is made of Tibetan music bowls that have been playing a composition that will last 1000 years without repeating itself. Controlled by a computer, it never stops. The plan is to keep it playing without stopping.
The Longplayer symbolizes Robert Freegard. Just like the instrument, Robert, too, is someone who will not stop “playing,” maybe not for a thousand years but for as long as he can, i.e., that’s almost a lifetime’s worth of conning. And what establishes this symbolism is the last scene of the film. After Robert is arrested, Alice goes back to the lighthouse where Robert took her the first time. There as she stands watching the sea, a girl who works there comes to her and tells her that “it goes on forever…never stops.” To this, Alice replies, “We’ll see.” Alice was able to bring an end to the deeds of someone that were also thought to be without end. Perhaps, the Longplayer has stopped for the time being. But the sly smile on Robert’s face that he gives to the security guard inside his prison after the latter asks him if he is really an MI5 spy would go on to prove that his so-called “confidential information” might just enable him to resume his “play” again, not for money this time, but to escape the prison.
Historically speaking, Robert Freegard, after receiving a life sentence in 2005, was released in 2009 after his life sentence was revoked. After that, more fraudulent activities have become known. As of now, Robert Freegard lives with his partner Sandra Clifton to whom he introduced himself as David in 2012. Since 2014, both remained off-grid, with Sandra’s family (son, daughter, and husband) having no idea where she is. So it seems that the “Longplayer” is still playing on. We can only hope that it stops one day.
“Rogue Agent” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film available on video on demand with subtitles.