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The Company [Blu-ray] (2007)

Chris O'Donnell , Alfred Molina , Mikael Salomon  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina, Michael Keaton, Alessandro Nivola, Rory Cochrane
  • Directors: Mikael Salomon
  • Writers: Ken Nolan, Robert Littell
  • Producers: Carrie Stein, Cary Brokaw, David A. Rosemont, David W. Zucker, John Calley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 286 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UR9T7S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,396 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Company [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Handsomely mounted, epic in scope, and featuring an outstanding cast, TNT's The Company might restore some much-needed luster to the image of the Central Intelligence Agency (then again, perhaps not). Based on Robert Littell's popular historical novel of the same name, the show commingles real and invented characters as it traces the CIA's role in several major events, from the earliest days of the Cold War through the collapse of the Soviet Union, with particular attention given to the division of Berlin into East and West in the 1950s, the anti-Communist uprising in mid-'50s Hungary, and the disastrous Bay of Pigs operation in the early '60s.

The first of the miniseries' three parts introduces us to Yale graduates Jack McAuliffe (Chris O'Donnell), Leo Kritzky (Alessandro Nivola), and Yevgeny Tsipin (Rory Cochrane); the first two are recruited by the CIA, but the Russian-born Tsipin sides with the KGB. The initial focus is on the CIA's efforts to find a Soviet mole who's been interfering with the agency's work and putting many American lives at risk. Working with mentor Harvey "The Sorcerer" Torriti (Alfred Molina), who calls him "Sport" and delights in pointing out that such matters are nothing less than a life-and-death struggle between good and evil and right and wrong, McAuliffe skulks around Berlin, where his principal informant and soon-to-be love interest is a lovely young ballerina (Alexandra Maria Lara) with a few secrets of her own. Meanwhile, back in Washington, the colorfully-named CIA counter-intelligence expert James Jesus Angleton (a real guy portrayed with low-key intensity by Michael Keaton) slowly realizes that the mole in question is one of his old pals. And it doesn't stop there. Turns out there's another double agent (codename "Sasha") working for the Reds; this one's deeply embedded in the CIA, and Angleton, a chain-smoking obsessive whose behavior becomes increasingly cold and peculiar, devotes years (and most of the series' third installment) to outing him. The process by which he does just that, culminating in some fairly excruciating interrogation scenes, provides The Company's best moments--especially because we don't know until the very end whether Angleton has fingered the actual Sasha or not.

Viewers unfamiliar with the CIA's history and methods aren’t likely to be very encouraged by what's depicted here--especially in the second part, in which the agency's misadventures in Hungary and Cuba reveal it (as well as the U.S. government overall) to be not merely ineffective but disastrously inept, as well as shockingly callous and hypocritical when it comes to lending material support to the causes it claims to espouse. Still, the series does a good job with many of the elements common to such fare (Robert De Niro's 2006 film The Good Shepherd covers some of the same ground). Codes are written and deciphered. Secrets are kept… and revealed. Shots are fired, and some of them connect. People die, good and bad alike. And even if some of the scenes are a bit overheated and melodramatic, all in all, The Company (which was written by Ken Nolan, directed by Mikael Salomon, and produced by John Calley and Ridley and Tony Scott) is smart and entertaining. And some of it's even true. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Traces CIA activities over a 40-year period, from the beginning of the Cold War through the demise of the Soviet Union.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the book August 21, 2007
Format:DVD
Robert Littell's The Company is a massive novel that follows the history of the CIA from post WWII to the end of the cold war. As long as three books, this novel is rich and full of characterization. So it's obvious that any such book would be hard to bring to the screen, large or small. The TNT TV version, at around 4 1/2 hours, tried hard, but didn't do justice to the book. It sometimes seems like an outline of the book, and so much is left out, that the action moves too quickly, changing locations and characters, making it hard to follow. This is more so in the early part of the series; the last 1/3 focuses on a more limited situation, the attempt to find a CIA mole.

Suffering from overbearing music that is way too loud in the early parts (which makes you wonder why the music was toned down so much in the last third), and characters who are supposed to age about thirty years, but look only a few years older, The Company is, nevertheless, good TV. It will keep your attention, and the intrigue is interesting, but be prepared to give it a chance; it's hard to follow at the beginning. The acting is good, the sets and locations interesting, and the plot - good vs evil - works well, especially since we already know who won the cold war.

But if you like this mini-series, do read the book - it is probably the best spy novel I've ever read, and is so much more interesting than this over-short TV version. No film could do it justice, but I can't help but think that a couple more hours could have saved this from its weaknesses.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Measure against the novel or other mini-series? January 21, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sometimes it's all about the competition. If you have read The Company, you probably agree that it is a wonderful book. To say that a book that is almost 900 pages long ends too soon is saying a lot. But there is a lot good to say about The Company. And a lot in the 900 page book that is not going to make it to the screen in four and a half hours of run time.

So, if you compare the mini-series to the book, this probably gets three stars, notably for a few key changes to the plot, several omissions due to run time limits, and the problem of portraying characters who age by 40 years visually. (Yes, the music is annoying in the first episode, but it isn't that bad.)

However, if you compare to most other mini-series, this is close to five stars. After all, it starts off with a tremendous plot line and story. It does a great job of shooting realistically in foreign locales (Berlin and Budapest are done really well). And Molina and Keaton do a superb job with their characters. Keaton in particular goes to a whole new level in his portrayal of James Jesus Angelton, the real-life head of counter-intelligence in the CIA. The performances of these two actors alone make this DVD worth watching.

Sadly, Chris O'Donnell playing the main character is not up to what his two peers deliver. He just a great job as the 'Hail, fellow, well met!' Yalie, but just does not seem to ever grow or learn as he gets older. Having watched first hand the US betray their promises to the Hungarian freedom fighters in their 1956 revolt, he seems utterly surprised (first hand again) 5 years later that the US leadership does it again to the Cuban rebels on the Bay of Pigs. Some of this is the fault of the script writer, who otherwise has done a good job, but some of it is O'Donnell himself.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best mini-series in a long time August 23, 2007
Format:DVD
Years ago I gave up the spy novel for the crime novel, so I was hesitant to spend six hours in front of the tube to watch this miniseries. I was pleasantly suprised. Addicted, actually! Hyped for more! Great acting, photography and directing. Michael Keaton was AMAZING in his depiction of James Angleton.

Sign me up for the DVD.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhere in the middle. November 24, 2007
Format:DVD
First of all, I actually enjoyed this mini-series, which, as has been noted, is elegantly produced and, on the whole, well acted. The costumes and settings are also excellent and evocative of the period. Michael Keaton is especially good in the role of chain-smoking James J. Angleton. And Tom Hollander, who seems to be making a career playing various Cambridge spies (He still has to play Maclean, Cairncross, and Blunt [which will require a real suspension of disbelief].), is brilliant (as usual) in the role of Philby (whom the writers have coyly called by one of his middle names, Adrian, so that viewers who may be only vaguely familiar with the early history of CIA will not guess he is Kim, the British Soviet Mole). Hollander plays the spy with understated charm, and his suggestion of Philby's stammer never slips into parody.

Good points being acknowledged, I now come to various aspects that have been already stated in other reviews: the overproduced music (which sometimes drowns out crucial dialogue); the handsome but rather wooden hero, who ages twenty years only in the steel color of his hair; and the confusing flashbacks, which cloud the narrative. As one who is fairly familiar with the historical background, I was also annoyed by details, which I admit are picky: if the heroes graduated in the Yale class of 1954 (as has been indicated), Philby, along with Burgess, had vacated Washington in 1951; by 1954, Burgess was in Moscow and Philby was being interrogated in London, cleared, and rehired by SIS and sent to Beirut under cover as a foreign correspondant, so there is no way that the young Yalies would have been in on the Philby debacle (One of them is depicted as delivering whisky and other goodies to him in Washington.).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but paints its picture with a broad brushstroke
I notice a welcome trend in espionage TV and movies which emphasizes spycraft mechanics and psychological ramifications over explosions, gadgetry and exotic temptresses. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Bryan
3.0 out of 5 stars This isn't a spy movie. Its a spy soap opera.
This isn't a spy movie. Its a spy soap opera. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is far superior. IF you liked Tinker Tailor, you aren't going to like this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jim
3.0 out of 5 stars Good cable series
For those who like espionage dramas, this is an entertaining mini-series. Michael Keaton is particularly good. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Listening in New Mexico
5.0 out of 5 stars Must see for anyone interested in the Cold War History
Fictional story based upon real life characters. Well done chases through the dark streets of Berlin (and other operations) draw the viewer into the excitement. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John A. P. Gessner
5.0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs and eight fingers ....maye some toes UP!
I read the book. Usually movies are very poor in the comparison. This is one of two exceptions which follow the book(s) faithfully. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Aaretun
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes You Just Find Gold @ Amazon!
I watch a lot of television these days, but I rarely ever watch anything "live" anymore. Meaning I tape, buy on demand and paruse Amazon for DVD's. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bob E. May
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystey and drama miniseries
This is a miniseries so it is a long movie. It develops slower than some would like , but the details are in progress with the storty line. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rocker
5.0 out of 5 stars great action
Love Chris O'Donnel any thing he would produce. Great acting, pot, lots of action constantly. Not use to action movies but this is just fine.
Published 6 months ago by Satellitebutterfly
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
Somehow I missed this miniseries when it came out, but found it on Amazon Prime and loved it. My wife loved it too. Great performances by Keaton and others. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Christopher S. Thorpe
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best ones on television
If you're looking for a show about the Central Intelligence Agency with fast car chases, mind-boggling explosions, or hours of scantily-clad women, you are definitely in the wrong... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Shadowfox702
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