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AGENCY (1980)
Article 1964 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-31-2006
Posting Date: 12-28-2006
Directed by George Kaczender
Featuring Robert Mitchum, Lee Majors, Valerie Perrine

 

An executive at an ad agency is puzzled when a bunch of people are fired and a new crew is hired. He doesn't really become suspicious until a paranoid co-worker, convinced that a conspiracy is underfoot, turns up dead. He decides to uncover the secret.

The fantastic content of this movie involves subliminal advertising, and this may be a bit of a spoiler, but almost every other plot description I've seen gives it away, so I guess I can't be held solely accountable. The movie is interesting enough; it has a slightly surreal edge to it, an unexpected sense of humor (much of which is due to Saul Rubinek, who leaves the story much too early), and it features Robert Mitchum. Now the presence of Robert Mitchum doesn't guarantee a good movie, but it does mean that there's at least one pro on the job who will go a long ways towards holding your attention. These pluses are a very good thing for this movie, because, despite an interesting premise, it has a predictable story and is lifelessly directed. It's also oddly dated at times; some of the artwork and ad campaigns look as if they're out of the late sixties rather than from the late seventies / early eighties; in particular, check out the graphics of the opening title, the manipulative political ad, and the glimpses of the commercials for "Chocolate Planet". It's watchable, but it could have been a lot better. For those into movie in-jokes, pay close attention to the names in the political ad, and then keep your eyes peeled during the final credits.

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