1965 and John Watkins (Christopher Plummer - A Beautiful Mind), the Canadian Prime Minister's right hand man and Ambassador in Russia, is abducted by the RCMP following pressure from the CIA. During days of twisted interrogation Watkins dies which is covered up in the official report which stated he died of a heart attack in the company of friends.
So as a movie fan I frequently find myself watching movies just for the sake of it or because it features an actor I like and with "Agent of Influence" starring Christopher Plummer it was a big enough draw to interest me. But neither had I ever heard of John Watkins or the true story on which this movie is based and had to dig around for information on it, something I am sure others who watch without previous knowledge will also do. And the story of what happened to John Watkins is an interesting one set during a time of espionage, mistrust and underhand dealings from government agencies.
Now what goes on in "Agent of Influence" is a dramatization of the events uncovered by writer Ian Adams whose book the movie is based upon. We witness elements such as the CIA's reasoning for targeting Watkins over a dislike of the Canadian Presidents stand on the Cold War. We witness how some within the agencies disagreed with the abduction and interrogation of Watkins. And of course we witness the interrogation and what happened, all of which is interesting and well directed on what I presume was a moderate budget. But this is a movie stuck between a rock and a hard place because with out prior knowledge it is a hard movie to follow yet with the knowledge it spoils what happens.
Never the less "Agent of Influence" is intriguing as it highlights the tactics and manipulations of government agencies during the 60s which has the effect of making you feel sick at what they did. And it also features good performances with Christopher Plummer well cast as the dignified John Watkins whilst Marina Orsini impresses as the tenacious interrogator, Diane Fletcher.
What this all boils down to is that "Agent of Influence" is an interesting movie, well acted and directed with an intriguing story. But it does suffer from focusing on what to me is an obscure true story which with out prior knowledge makes it difficult to follow but with prior knowledge spoils what happens.