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The Company (2007)

2007

NR CC

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

Starring:
Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina
Runtime:
4 hours, 46 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director sphe
Starring Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina
Supporting actors Michael Keaton, Rory Cochrane, Alessandro Nivola, Tom Hollander, Kristin Booth, Ted Atherton, Stephen Bogaert, Rick Roberts, Mike Turner, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Thomsen, JB Blanc, Hristo Mitzkov, Cedric Smith, Barry Flatman, Péter Rudolf, Gábor Nagypál, Zoltán Berzsenyi
Studio Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kirk McElhearn VINE VOICE on 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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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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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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Format: DVD
The Company is an epic mini-series, and if that sounds like an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, or military intelligence, then that is a fitting tribute to its subject: The Central Intelligence Agency. The Company is about the CIA and it covers a span of 40 years -- focusing mainly on the Cold War, and three men who meet on a rowing team while attending Yale: Jack McCauliffe (Chris O'Donnell) and Leo Kritzky (Alessandro Nivola) go to work for the CIA, while Yevgeny Tsipin (Rory Cochrane) is recruited by the Soviets as a spy.

Jack is assigned to the Berlin office under Harvey Torriti (Alfred Molina), known as The Sorcerer. Jack falls for the first asset he handles, a ballerina with the code name Rainbow. My favorite line is when the Soviet agent threatens him with the revelation that they've seen the two together at the opera, he responds with "It was the ballet" before opening fire. Her cover was blown by a mole and she shoots herself to avoid capture. He is shattered by her death and haunted by wondering if her identity had been given up by The Sorcerer as a "barium meal" to flush out a mole. Just as barium is used as an X-ray radiocontrast agent for imaging the human gastrointestinal tract, information is released that a mole, or a double agent, will act on, and if so, then the identity of the mole is revealed. Did The Sorcerer use the ballerina, Rainbow, as a Barium Meal? Jack goes on to other adventures, notably the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and The Bay of Pigs.

Meanwhile, Yevgeny Tsipin leads an outwardly quiet life as a liquor delivery man, but in actuality, he is passing secrets to the Soviets.
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