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The Company

Posted on

Jan Thijs

The Company

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG-13
runtime:
112 minutes
Limited Release Date:
12/25/03
performer:
Neve Campbell, Susie Cusack, William Dick, James Franco, Malcolm McDowell
director:
Robert Altman
distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
author:
Barbara Turner
genre:
Drama, musical

We gave it a B+

Meaty, gorgeous, and sometimes soapy, TNT’s six-hour miniseries The Company chronicles the Cold War and the CIA’s role in it over four decades. Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, The Company is a hell of a spy thriller, filled with glowing rooftop chases and shadowy phone calls, moles and mind games, and romance of the Cold War variety — passionate, guilt-laden, and well-dressed. It’s a story told through three Yale friends: One becomes a CIA spy (Chris O’Donnell), one becomes a Company golden boy (Junebug‘s Alessandro Nivola), and the third, a Russian by birth, becomes a spy for his homeland (CSI: Miami‘s Rory Cochrane). Michael Keaton scuttles around as CIA counter-intelligence guru James Jesus Angleton. Muttering intensely to his orchids, Keaton seems determined to win the William Hurt, No Such Thing as a Supporting Role award. He’ll have to duke it out with Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), who plays a brilliant, alcoholic CIA operative.

Of the three installments, night 2 feels the most labored, with an obligatory pit stop in Cuba. (Filming the Bay of Pigs debacle is a bit like filming the Mona Lisa: It’s so iconic, it barely resonates.) But night 3 makes up for that: It’s filled with tension and decay, as the agents turn on each other to find a mole — and we see the idealistic young men turn into haggard old cynics as the Cold War deflates around them. It’s an unsettling, unpat finish, which is perversely satisfying. B+