THE NIGHT AGENT. A surprisingly good show in an average package

Unfortunately, despite an interesting story, the series has no chance of cult status.

Odys Korczyński

26 March 2023

The risk of launching such productions on the market is high. They either surprise or they don’t. They will become iconic or disappear among other similar ones. And success depends not only on content, but on many other factors. In The Night Agent we will not find famous actors, maybe with the exception of Robert Patrick, who appears from time to time in some circles. The series was not made by famous creators, unless we recognize Nash Bridges or S.W.A.T. as exceptional cinematographic achievements. From the outside, everything seems ordinary, standard, but the inside amazes with quality. The problem, however, is who will want to reach for such an uninterestingly packaged product. No promotional campaign, even a small banner in social media. No information that such a series will appear on social media and in the media space in general. Probably not enough advertising money.

The shot of a car driving along a forest road, around which trees are piled up, as if they are about to fall to the asphalt, has become a classic of modern film frames made from a drone. We will also see such a frame in The Night Agent, which is one of the elements of the road and escape that the two main characters make. The rest of the threads, unfortunately, spoil the main one, because it resembles a bit of a cheap spy movie. However, you can’t have everything. The creators decided so because they had to find some way to explain to the viewer some sense in the multitude of threads that appeared after receiving a mysterious phone call from Rose. Rose and Peter are the main characters – a female cybersecurity officer and a low-ranking FBI agent with a troubled family history. Of course, the creators could weave the translation of spy secrets into the main plot of the escape, but they probably found that a bit of chatty morals would interest viewers who don’t like typical action movies.

The main characters were played by Gabriel Basso and Luciane Buchanan. He might be remembered by viewers from Super 8 and she… I don’t really know what. Her career is still ahead of her, but she should probably play more characteristic characters, less dependent on the main male character. The most interesting, however, is Basso. The game of a minor FBI agent. His rise to a great hero in the viewer’s eyes is divided into several episodes, but he wants to follow who he will be at the end of the story. And rest assured that things will happen to him that are unimaginable for an ordinary man, as befits a super agent. Some may actually hurt if you’re looking for spy realism. If someone ever came up with a breakneck idea to shoot the adventures of “young” James Bond, Basso would be a great choice. You have to hurry, because soon Basso will be 30 years old.

Let’s remember that The Night Agent is an action movie in the series version, combined with extensive inserts presenting the private lives of the characters, so let’s not expect hard criminal puzzles from it, the solutions of which are written down for the viewer to the smallest stages. This is more about entertainment than documenting the ways of spies. This initial assumption should be taken into account in order not to be disappointed with the series. There will be no shortage of twists in the production, although their lack of realism will often be huge. I have already seen the opinions of more sensitive to realism viewers online that it is hard to believe in certain events.

Let’s go back to the packaging. I mentioned that The Night Agent didn’t have a huge publicity campaign. In many ways, it is an underinvested adaptation of the prose of Matthew Quirk, the rising popularity of the 42-year-old writer who tries to be the heir of Robert Ludlum in his work. And so in The Night Agent you can feel this fascination with the character of Jason Bourne, of course in a younger version than the one presented in Ludlum’s novel. The creators of the series of films with Matt Damon followed the same lead. The packaging of the film matters – however, the viewer needs more motivation to reach for a product such as a detective story, an action movie, a spy series in one, because these products are not as distinctive as science fiction series or even productions telling the stories of murderers known in criminology. In other words, the problem is that there has to be a hook in the series to catch the campaign on – something flashy, which is also not lacking in SF, if you take the visual side into account. The night agent does not have such protrusions, hooks, supports, although it is an interesting story. The individual episodes are not boring. They end at the right moment so that the viewer doesn’t get all the information they need to discover another mystery. That’s what thread splitting is all about. The whole thing would look even better if you had to wait for the next episode, e.g. a week, as it used to be. Today we get the whole season at once, so the reception of this suspense is much less emotionally effective.

Why was this The Night Agent show AMAZINGLY good? Because today’s cinema, especially those co-produced by streaming platforms, is often imitative and focused on short-term profit. The stories made up are shallow or are simply remakes. The Night Agent certainly has no chance of becoming a cult series, but its screening will certainly bring several hours of entertainment and pleasant tension, even if some ways of interpreting the characters of the two antagonists smack of naivety. However, see for yourself how the couple of murderers behave “after work”. They are ordinary, romantic people and they have their own personal problems, almost like from a Turkish soap opera.

Odys Korczyński

Odys Korczyński

For years he has been passionate about computer games, in particular RPG productions, film, medicine, religious studies, psychoanalysis, artificial intelligence, physics, bioethics, as well as audiovisual media. He considers the story of a film to be a means and a pretext to talk about human culture in general, whose cinematography is one of many splinters.

See other posts from this author >>>