A documentary that looks to shed light on a little-known Canadian factoid, Camp X: Secret Agent School, offers an in-depth look at a top-secret Second World War training camp near Whitby, Ont., that became North America’s first secret-agent school.
Through a series of interviews with historians and war veterans, Camp X explores how the inventions, training and tactics to come out of the Canadian base played a key role in the Allies’ war efforts and how it shaped the CIA, along with some of pop culture’s greatest secret agents.
Written and directed by Alex McIntosh, one of Camp X’s best qualities is how it goes about showing the global significance of North America’s first secret-agent academy. Instead of focusing solely on the brick and mortar, McIntosh’s documentary spends as much time talking to historians about the school’s training programs and facilities as it does on the first-hand accounts of Camp X veterans and undercover operatives who used its training throughout the war.
By having veterans recount their wartime experiences, Camp X manages to add a personal element to its storytelling that will leave you glued to your seat. That being said, it is guilty of overdramatizing certain scenes with loud background music and actors portraying the veterans’ experiences occasionally disrupting the flow of the documentary.
At two hours, Camp X may be too long for some casual viewers, but it offers an intriguing look into an aspect of Canada’s involvement in the war and effectively showcases how modern intelligence and the art of espionage have their roots firmly planted on Canadian soil – as well as having a satisfying twist ending. Camp X premieres July 14 at 9 p.m. on History.