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HIDDEN AGENDA, made in England in 1990, deals with one of the most mediated political problems: the fight between the English government and the IRA in Northern Ireland. We are exposed to that problem almost every day in the news, with all kinds of terrorist attacks, political plots, etc. Director Ken Loach did a very good job giving the movie a very realistic tone.

The first ingredient that makes this movie very interesting is the fact that the script is based on a true story. The fact that this story really happened makes the audience think twice, because it could also happen to any of us viewers! So we tend to get more involved in the movie itself and therefore we can identify with the feelings of the characters and the actors. Also, the way in which the movie was filmed was very realistic. There was a touch of realism in every shot, from the very natural make up of the widow, to the place and angle in which the camera was placed to film. Everything looked real.

The lack of special effects and the locations chosen to shoot gave the movie a documentary look at some times. For example, when the widow and the cop went to meet the informer in the back room of the tavern, or even the whole landscape in the movie was very realistic and typical of northern Ireland.

Finally, the general pale colors of the movie without much brightness gave a dramatic atmosphere to the whole story, adding some more realism to a drama that was transferred from reality to the screen with a lot of precision.

But even the best realistic director could not make a fake story look that real. I therefore give the script a lot of credit for the realism of the story. In fact, all of the movie action seemed to be so real not only because of the way it was filmed but also because of the fact that it was dealing with events to which we are exposed to every week on the news. The political problems between the IRA and the English government and the kind of plots exposed in the movie have been going on for quite a long time. Plots involving British personalities, IRA terrorist action, cheap black mailing schemes (like the one in which the cop was involved at the end) and all kinds of illegal conspiracy have been discovered in relation to the political situation in northern Ireland. So, the movie was very effective in reproducing these facts.

Finally, even though the acting was not award winning, there was not any bad acting. However, at some points, I found the acting performance of the widow to be less emotional that it should have been. For example, after the scene in which she, very emotionally, identified her husband at the morgue, she then seemed to be holding on without any big trouble. I thought that she should have kept showing her sadness more explicitly throughout the whole movie. Otherwise, it was a very nice movie, and I liked the fact that there was a little action in the movie to give it some life.