Four months after submitting the manuscript of his second novel Black, author Stephen Parker (Stephen Kennedy) decides to pay a visit to his literary agent Alexander Joyce (William Beck). It transpires that the latter is not a fan of the new work, which he hasn’t even read in its entirety and which he doesn’t think is worth showing to publishers. Despite his nervousness however, Stephen won’t be brushed off lightly, and produces from his bag his ‘metaphorical gun’ – namely some highly incriminating photographs of Alexander.
Made for just £26,000 on HD-video by director Lesley Manning, and adapted from his own play by Martin Wagner, this solidly acted two-hander offers a fairly predictable battle of wills between its two main characters. In critiquing the publishing industry The Agent confirms what we already suspect: that real power in this field lies with the publishers and middle-men, not the writers, and that there is no place for work that doesn’t fit into commercially popular genres. Attempts to ‘open up’ the source material here are fleeting and detract from the claustrophobic atmosphere, and one thinks of Nicholas Ray’s observation that, ‘If it’s all in the script, why make the film?’
Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 18-Sun 20 Sep.