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Spy vs. spy. Three Yale grads, class of 1954, join their respective countries' secret service. We follow them for 40 years - through the outing of a British spy, the Hungarian revolution, the Bay of Pigs, the scent of moles, and the collapse of the USSR. Fictional characters - Yalies Jack McCauliffe, Leo Kritzky, and Yevgeny Tsipin and Jack's boss Harvey Torriti - rub shoulders with real figures like Kim Philby and James Angleton to tell stories of romance, intrigue, double-crosses, false leads, suicide, execution, and exile - in the name of ideology, patriotism, paranoia, perfidy, and one-upsmanship. Can the CIA claim any credit in the West's Cold War triumph? Written by
The miniseries went out of fashion when the networks started economizing, so it's nice to see this one from TNT. "The Company," which refers to the CIA, stars Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina, Michael Keaton, Rory Cochrane, Alessandro Nivola, and Natascha McElhone, along with a huge international cast.
The series purports to tell of some of the big events in which the CIA was involved throughout its history, woven in with the search for an elusive double agent, an American version of Kim Philby (who is also a character in the film, portrayed by Tom Hollander). The period covered is 40 years, from the start of the Cold War to the fall of the Soviet Union and focuses on the experiences of three fictional Yale grads, class of '54: Jack McCauliffe (O'Donnell), Leo Kritzky (Alessandro Nivola), and Yevgeny Tsipin (Rory Cochrane).
This is a very absorbing miniseries with some great, good, and blah acting, in my opinion. Though it's understood that Alfred Molina is an excellent actor, for me, his portrayal of Harvey, Jack's boss, was a little too stagy. Chris O'Donnell was okay, coming off as a lesser Leonardo di Caprio or Matt Damon. For me the two great portrayals were those of Michael Keaton as James Angleton, the real-life chief of the CIA's counterintelligence unit, and Alessandro Nivola, who is an accomplished stage actor and gives a strong performance.
Not surprisingly, this film came on the heels of the feature "The Good Shepherd," also about the CIA and starring Matt Damon. Because it has the luxury of being a miniseries, it's more detailed. Recommended.
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