Hidden Agenda (1990)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This political thriller is set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland's "Troubles" and directed in the documentary fashion common to British filmmaker Ken Loach's films. Paul Sullivan (Brad Dourif) and Ingrid Jessner (Frances McDormand) are American attorneys serving on a human rights group working to monitor cases of prisoner mistreatment in war-torn Belfast. When Paul learns of some information that may be injurious to the Thatcher government, he is killed, and a top-secret tape disappears. Assigned to the case, Inspector Kerrigan (Brian Cox) is joined by Ingrid in probing Paul's death, which seems to be related to rumors of a high-ranking cabal within the British government working to undermine the Irish Republican Army and liberal policies toward Irish separatists through violent and illegal means. Ingrid meets with Harris (Maurice Roeves), a former British Secret Service agent who's now turned on his former cronies. Together, they look for the top-secret tape.
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
HBO Video

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Brian Cox
as Kerrigan
Frances McDormand
as Ingrid Jessner
Jim Norton
as Brodie
John Benfield
as Maxwell
Patrick Kavanagh
as Alec Nevin
Des McAleer
as Sgt. Kennedy
John C. McDonnell
as Labour MP
Ian McElhinney
as Jack Cunningham
Bernard Archard
as Sir Robert Neil
Oliver Maguire
as Supt. Fraser
Stephen Brigden
as Army Major
Kate Smith
as News Reporter
Kathleen Smith
as News Reporter
Michelle Fairley
as Teresa Doyle
Desmond McAleer
as Sgt. Kennedy
John Keegan
as Detective Sergeant Hughts
Maureen Bell
as Mrs. Molloy
Kym Dyson
as Carol
Gerry Fearon
as Taxi Driver
Llew Gardner
as TV Announcer
Ron Kavana
as Musician
Patrick Kavanaugh
as Alec Nevin
Ivan Little
as TV Reporter
Jim McAllister
as Liam Philbin
Bryan McCann
as Molloy
Mandy McIlwaine
as RUC Policewoman
George Staines
as Tall Man
Terry Woods
as Musician
Brian McCann
as Molloy
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Critic Reviews for Hidden Agenda

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (6)

Though it attempts to make an acceptable theatrical entertainment out of a complex political saga, Hidden Agenda lacks bigscreen impact.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

There's plenty of evidence of Loach's undiminished power as a film-maker, and equally ample evidence that something is very rotten in the state of Northern Ireland.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This quietly explosive film comes to resonate more loudly than melodrama.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Ken Loach's Hidden Agenda must be the most buttoned-down movie about a conspiracy theory ever made.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Its own terms and for much of the way, this is a superior thriller.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Well-intentioned, but rather murky.

Full Review… | March 30, 2009
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Hidden Agenda

A Ken Loach film without a great deal of hype but I would highly recommend searching through the older film rack to take a look at this one.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


A political thriller with more politics than thrills makes for a nice change of pace -- but ends up as a borderline soapbox for a particular agenda. Between a 6/10 and 7/10.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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