Hidden Agenda is a hard-hitting attack on allegedly ruthless methods of the British police in Northern Ireland. Pic is set in 1982, and seems inspired by the notorious Stalker case. Stalker was a top-level British police officer sent to Northern Ireland to investigate the Royal Ulster Constabulary. His eventual highly critical report was hushed up, and he resigned and went public.
Brian Cox plays the Stalker-like Kerrigan, brought to Belfast to investigate the killings of an IRA sympathizer and an American lawyer (Brad Dourif in a tiny role). Kerrigan befriends Dourif’s bereaved girlfriend (Frances McDormand, good in a Jane Fonda-type role). He quickly discovers the men were killed by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and exposes a high-level coverup.
Jim Allen’s provocative screenplay includes references to British secret service and their dirty tricks against the Heath and Wilson governments of the 1970s.
But though it attempts to make an acceptable theatrical entertainment out of a complex political saga, Hidden Agenda lacks bigscreen impact.