Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Agency Shock news!  Advertising is evil!
Year: 1980
Director: George Kaczender
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Lee Majors, Valerie Perrine, Alexandra Stewart, Saul Rubinek, George Touliatos, Franz Russell, Michael Kirby, Gary Reineke, Hugh Webster, Anthony Parr, Jonathan Welsh, Donald Davis, Marilyn Gardner, Eric Donkin
Genre: Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Advertising creatives Philip Morgan (Lee Majors) and Sam Goldstein (Saul Rubinek) are uneasy when the agency they work for is purchased by mysterious billionaire Ted Quinn (Robert Mitchum). While Philip is busy salvaging a relationship with girlfriend Brenda Wilcox (Valerie Perrine), Sam does a little investigating into the motivation behind Quinn's top secret new ad campaign. He does not like what he finds. On a visit to Sam's apartment Philip makes a grisly discovery that motivates him to find out just what Quinn and his fellow conspirators are up to.

Based on a novel by Paul Gottlieb, the Canadian produced Agency arrived at the tail end of a decade obsessed with conspiracies. With movies having already scrutinized the government, big business and television among others the advertising industry must have seemed like the next logical step. Specifically subliminal advertising, a practice causing much consternation and debate at the time as to how effectively, if unscrupulously, it could be used to manipulate consumers. Gottlieb's novel took that already unsettling idea one step further pondering how corporations could use it to manipulate the democratic process.

Now, in an era of "deep fakes", fraudulent Facebook ads and relentless manipulation of digital media, such paranoia seems almost quaint. Nevertheless the root concept at the heart of Agency has some weight. It needed a Paddy Chayefsky or even a Michael Crichton to fashion a more incisive and nuanced satire. Instead Hungarian born director George Kaczender, working from a screenplay by Noel Hynd, proves strangely lackadaisical in getting to the core scary idea. Most of the film centres on erstwhile bionic Viking stuntman Lee Majors pottering about the office, trading trite witticisms with Saul Rubinek about the facile nature of the advertising game or whining endlessly about his ex-wife and non-committal girlfriend. Exciting, right? Only towards the very end do the actual ramifications of Quinn's dastardly plan rear their head. Even then the big reveal of his subliminal ad campaign is undercut by laughable psychedelic animation straight out of Yellow Submarine (1968). To be honest as a thriller this proves hard to take seriously from the get-go when it kicks off with a dive into literal disco hell with a montage of dancers in glittery body paint and devil horns shilling deodorant.

Kaczender's fumbled, pedestrian handling of the cod-Hitchcockian plot leaves no room to develop its potentially provocative ideas. It is an ugly looking film with a muddy, washed out colour palette familiar from Canadian-made slasher films that does little to enliven its tacky milieu. Meanwhile the whiny, self-absorbed protagonists are odd and unappealing, laden with insufferably 'sophisticated' dialogue rife with casual misogyny and homophobia. Lee Majors is a solid enough lead but unconvincing as an ad man while Robert Mitchum, in a dry run for his cat-obsessed television executive in Scrooged (1988), has a little more fun with a sardonic turn. It is odd though that Quinn never comes across like the ogre everyone makes him out to be. Eventually Agency bows out with a shrug of an ending that betrays the filmmakers' frustrating disinterest in their own story.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1308 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: