Characters

Bob Hoskins

  • Mr. Adolf Verloc: a secret agent who owns a shop in the Soho region of London. His primary characteristic, as described by Conrad, is indolence. He is employed by an unnamed embassy to spy on revolutionary groups, which then encourages him to instigate a terrorist act against the Greenwich Observatory. Their belief is that the resulting public outrage will force the English government to act more forcibly against emigre socialist and anarchist activists. He is part of an anarchist organisation that creates pamphlets under the heading The Future of the Proletariat. He is married to Winnie, and lives with his wife, his mother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, Stevie.

Patricia Arquette

  • Mrs. Winnie Verloc: Verloc’s wife. She cares for her brother Stevie, who has the mental age of a young child. She is younger than her husband and married him not for love but to provide a home for her mother and brother. A loyal wife, she becomes incensed upon learning of the death of her brother due to her husband’s plotting, and kills him with a knife in the heart. She dies, presumably by drowning herself to avoid the gallows.

the-secret-agent-1996--300-75

  • Stevie: Winnie’s brother has the mental age of a young child and is very sensitive and is disturbed by notions of violence or hardship. His sister cares for him, and Stevie passes most of his time drawing numerous circles on pieces of paper. Verloc, exploiting both Stevie’s childlike simplicity and outrage at suffering, employs him to carry out the terrorist attack on the Greenwich Observatory. However, Stevie stumbles and the bomb explodes prematurely.

Jim Broadbent

  • Chief Inspector Heat: a policeman who is dealing with the explosion at Greenwich. An astute man who uses a clue found at the scene of the crime to trace events back to Verloc’s home. Although he informs his superior what he is planning to do with regards to the case, he is not aware that the Assistant Commissioner is acting without his knowledge.

Gérard Depardieu

  • Comrade Alexander Ossipon: an ex-medical student and friend of Verloc, and an anarchist.

Robin Williams

  • The Professor: another anarchist, who specialises in explosives and provides Adolf Verloc the bomb that will explode near the observatory.
  • The Assistant Commissioner: of a higher rank than the Chief Inspector, he uses the knowledge gained from Heat to pursue matters personally. He informs his superior, Sir Ethelred, of his intentions, and tracks down Verloc before Heat can.
  • Sir Ethelred: the Secretary of State to whom the Assistant Commissioner reports.
  • Mr. Vladimir: the First Secretary of an embassy of an “unnamed” country. Though his name might suggest that this is the Russian embassy, the name of the previous first secretary, Baron Stott-Wartenheim, is Germanic, as is that of Privy Councillor Wurmt, another official of this embassy. There is also the suggestion that Vladimir is not from Europe but Central Asia. Vladimir employs Verloc to spy on revolutionary groups and encourages him to instigate a terrorist act, hoping that the resulting public outrage will force the English government to repress émigré socialist and anarchist activists.
  • Karl Yundt: a friend of Verloc, and another anarchist.
  • Michaelis: a friend of Verloc, and another anarchist.

 

Academic year 2013/2014
© a.r.e.a./Dr.Vicente Forés López
© Aitor Bori Ibáñez
aiboi@alumni.uv.es

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