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Parents' Guide to

Rogue Agent

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Real-life con man thriller has language, sex, trauma.

Movie NR 2022 115 minutes
Rogue Agent movie poster

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Perhaps the most chilling aspect of this British thriller is its closing stages, when the current status of career con man Freegard is revealed. Before then, Rogue Agent's Norton embodies Freegard as a gaslighting schemer who preys mostly on vulnerable women. Freegard's inner world and life are barely examined, with the film's focus largely being on his victims. Over the course of nearly two hours, we meet Marisa Abela's naive student, Sophie, Gemma Arterton's no-nonsense solicitor, Alice, and Sarah Goldberg's recently single American abroad, Jenny. Each of them react to his psychological manipulation in a variety of ways. These characters are fictionalized versions of Freegard's real-life victims, an approach that does its best to tell a familiar con man's tale from a different perspective. Unfortunately it feels scattershot, unbalanced, and episodic.

The movie's biggest problem is the writers' attempt to turn Alice into the main character. Transforming her into a sleuthing, non-criminal lawyer who spends the closing stages telling two sets of cops how to do their jobs, before attempting to single-handedly save the day, feels too much of a spin on what's already an outlandish story. The facts of the case are, unsurprisingly, rather different. The documentary made about the real Freegard, The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, is a better bet for those who want their true crime stories to ring truer.

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