New York Times - 11/21/1990
"...Chilling....This quietly explosive film comes to resonate more loudly than melodrama..."
Film Comment - 09/01/1990
"...The script percolates with startling revelations about the venality of Britain's secret service..."
Los Angeles Times - 12/21/1990
"...A taut, straightforward example of Loach's craftsmanship....The movie has a documentary-like atmosphere but the confrontations are brilliantly staged and the dialogue is heightened for dramatic effect..."
An implicit condemnation of the repressive tactics of the British government in Northern Ireland, HIDDEN AGENDA stars Brian Cox (THE BOXER), Brad Dourif (MISSISSIPPI BURNING), and Frances McDormand (FARGO). When an American attorney working for a humanitarian group who is investigating the torture of IRA prisoners is killed in Belfast, Inspector Kerrigan (Cox) is sent to investigate the crime. He's joined by Sullivan's fiancée, Ingrid Jessner (McDormand), a lawyer working for the International League of Civil Liberties. They learn that he had been given a tape by a former British army officer named Harris (Maurice Roeves) that contained highly incriminating material concerning the activities of the British government. With some difficulty they track down the elusive officer, leading them to the IRA. This well-made, low-key political thriller was highly controversial upon its release because it cited real names and events in presenting its case for the existence of a conspiracy at the highest levels of the British government.
During a reporting trip of abuses by British security forces in Northern Ireland, an American human rights activist's (Frances McDormand) fiancé is killed after being suspected a terrorist. The negative publicity forces the British to send an investigator (Brian Cox) who joins her try to solve the killing; what they discover in this story of political intrigue, deception and murder is that the real issues are more complex and dangerous than they expected. The film is directed by Ken Loach (LAND AND FREEDOM) who is well-known for his unflinching examination of political and human rights issues.