The Company (2007)
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Customer Reviews:

  • Enjoyable entertainment
    I have not read the book, so this review is not going to tell you how much better the book is. Those are not reviews, as I have yet to find a case where the movie is better than the book and do not think that is possible. What we are going to do is talk about almost five hours of quality entertainment with a story we already know. This is the popular storybook history of the CIA from the 1950s to the fall of communism in the USSR. Starting in post-war Berlin, stopping in Budapest, with a side trip to Cuba we follow the CIA through our times. "We won, didn't we" is a fitting critique of America's performance during the Cold War and the ending line of the movie.
    This well-mounted production tries to keep the props right for the times. Older viewers will have fun spotting the small inaccurate items. There are not enough of them to detract from the story but enough to have some fun. The locals look good and correct for the era where the action is taking place. The story line is consistent with what we think happened breaking no new ground and creating no problems. The acting is excellent. The script is believable and the actors make the most of it. Michael Keaton is outstanding as the counter-intelligence boss working to find the agencies mole. In an understated performance, he is the ultimate detail man, feared and distrusted while fearing and distrusting. Alfred Molina turns in a very believable performance as a life-long field man with a serious drinking problem. Here is a careful balance between PTSD and working through the day.
    The KGB is not some shadow figure of bad guys lurking outside of our field of vision. They are portrayed as deeply committed to their country. Rory Cochrane turns in a great performance as the young man giving his life to the KGB by spying in America. Chris O'Donnell is his American counterpart giving his life to the CIA by spying wherever he is needed. This move has an excellent ending showing the price these men paid fighting the cold war.
    This is NOT a history lesson but an enjoyable five hours of entertainment.
    ...more info
  • Measure against the novel or other mini-series?
    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. I completely forgot that Keaton once played Batman in a movie. I was reminded often that O'Donnell played Robin. Keaton's growth as an actor over almost 30 years is remarkable. O'Donnell has stuck to what he does. Nothing wrong with that, but it means he is miscast.

    But, if you like mini-series, or want to learn about the CIA and can't face up to 900 pages, The Company is recommended strongly. And if you really like the book and would like to see it visualized for you, it is a real treat....more info
  • Excelente, la recomiendo
    Excelente historia que narra los inicios de la CIA a trav®¶s de las misiones de Jack Mc Auliffe (Chris O'Donnell), Alfred Molina (Jack Torritti) y Michael Keaton (Mother) en Alemania del Este, Hungr®™a y Cuba. Un punto muy interesante de la historia es el intricado que viven intentando descubrir el esp®™a de la KGB dentro de la CIA. La compa?®™a ofrece 4.5 horas de entretenimiento.

    Algo en contra es que el DVD no ofrece subt®™tulos en espa?ol, el segundo idioma mas hablado en USA.
    ...more info
  • Believable Spycraft

    I had read the book before I saw the movie. The story impressed me as fairly representative of the spy world I have read about in several books.
    Acting was good and in some places,excellent. The pace of action was well timed and I was glad to see it avoided blood and gore. If you are looking for a lot of action, explosions and shooting, this movie may disappoint you. If you are looking for a good story that enages you, you will like this one. I went out and bought the DVD after I saw my Netflix copy....more info
  • Not great, and not bad.
    This movie (I know it is "technically" a miniseries, but in any case if you're buying it here it will be more like one long movie) can best be described: on the whole, it's not great -- but the places and aspects of it that are good, are REALLY good. In fact, the problems I had with certain lines and characters and scenes had nothing to do with quality of acting; the actors were great. It is the writing that could have been better. Possibly they just tried to cover way too much material; the bad places I have in mind I would describe as either "corny" or "watered-down"; and some things are flat out misleading (e.g., when The Sorceror has a conversation with a Sicilian crime boss, the boss refers to himself and his people as "the cosa nostra"... I am pretty sure that no wiseguy would ever admit the existence of the organization, and certainly not at that point in time).

    I PROBABLY wouldn't have watched this more than once if it hadn't been for the character of James Angleton, portrayed by Michael Keaton. To me he is, as it were, the feature presentation. I would have been happy with a four hour movie completely about him and his character. He definitely makes the De Niro/Damon adaptation of Angleton (under a different name, in THE GOOD SHEPHERD) look uninteresting. But this is largely a personal preference of my own for that type of personality and that type of thinker; in spite of his paranoia, I think he was right (see, for instance, the book DECEPTION by Edward Jay Epstein). Keaton's Angleton also expresses several times throughout the film the essence of the real Angleton's own theory of deception and espionage, which in itself is very valuable.

    In any case, the movie is worth buying and worth watching at least once. ...more info
  • The Company
    This was such an amazing television presentation that I knew I had to add it to my DVD collection. Of course, the acting was great, especially from Chris O'Donnell, a definite surprise here, and hopefully it will bring him an Emmy. Another fine performance came from Rory Cochrane, one of the most underrated actors and one who always does a fine job. The movie was so good that I went the next day and purchased the book upon which it was based. It's entertaining and even heartbreaking, but it has excellence written all over it....more info
  • Very good
    This is one of the best spy mini series I've ever seen. Its exciting and it keeps you on the edge of your seat....more info
  • The Company
    Dear Amazon Review:)
    The DVD "The Company" is a good spy/espionage movie with a good story. However, the movie is very slow and drags on making it a little boring. I am surprised due to the quality of actors in the moview, but it all depends on the way the script is written.
    A bit to slow for my taste is the bottom line.
    Sincerely,
    Mario F. Ceballos
    Concord, CA....more info
  • typical t.v. production
    80% soap opera 20% intrigue. If you happen to know something beyond the headlines of the James Angleton and years as counter-terrorism chief stay away from this t.v. show, its an insult, a long boring insult. Despite the number of hours devoted to this story it still is lacking, highly lacking. You will find yourself fast forwarding many parts of these DVD's. Most annoying of the film is probably Molina's (aka the Sorcerer) overacting but O'Donnel as a whole is pretty bad.

    I would rather watch the Good Sheppard (good 1st time but has terrible re-watch appeal) over this any day of the week. Dont believe people with their "realistic portrayal's"; there are way to many "dont do's" in this flick such as the bad guys busting up your safe house but you walk with your crew anyways down the middle of the road talking out loud about moles and such,the film is full of these dont do's.

    Although this mini-series is a serious attempt at the espionage world its not a very intelligent one. Ok, this t.v. show isnt worth anymore of my time reviewing, but don't take my word for it......more info
  • Mixed
    This survey of the CIA's first three decades is an admirably lavish and detailed production that takes us from Berlin to the Bay of Pigs to Langley. Unfortunately, the agent at the center of it all is the fulsomely bland Chris O'Donnell. (We also get a distractingly mis-cast Alfred Molina.) Stay with it though, as the last of the three sections is definitely the best. That's when we get the best scenes of Michael Keaton's portrait of James Angelton as an irritating and self-indulgent paranoid. (Or is he?) It's an audacious performance and we get just enough of it to be fascinated. Not so however with Rory Cochrane's turn as a KGB cut-out working in the states. He is sensational, and not in it nearly enough. ...more info
  • The Company's Hot on Cold War
    This was an excellent movie! I had just finished reading the book, The Company by Littel. No movie can do justice to the book, usually, but this one came very close. Supberb acting, incredible costumeing and makeup, especially in the aging of the characters. Intriguing and serpentine political storylines keep you on the edge of your seat!
    If you like Ludlum, LeCarre, and Clancy, you'll love this!...more info
  • Read the book first
    It's tough for me to grade this for folks who haven't read the book. The book is far superior, but the miniseries is a nice compliment. It probably could or should have been 10+ hours as opposed to six....more info
  • Phenomenal Film: Much Better than "The Good Shepherd"
    I saw this movie, not knowing what to expect, but i must say, it was one of the most beautiful films on history, strategy, counter-intelligence, romance, and action i have ever seen. This is essentially 3 movies (each full feature length) that takes you through three critical decades within the CIA/KGB struggles during the cold war.

    It follows the lives of three friends from Yale, and how the whole cold war sets a context for the arc of thier career, love, courage, and death.

    I haven't seen Keaton since Batman, and Molina since Spiderman2, but i think these two actors turn out a performance of a lifetime in this film.

    The three films provide enough length to really achieve a sense of intamacy with the characters, and the ending is superb. After watching this masterpiece, I felt as though i had just finished reading a truly great novel.

    Regarding the Blu-Ray Conversion, it was phenomenal! You can literally see each pore and hair during close-ups, and each particle during explosions.

    Two big Thumbs UP!...more info
  • Outstanding acting, enlightening and suspenseful drama
    The Company is a long production but worth the investment in time, especially Part 3. The acting is outstanding. Full of drama, suspense and history. ...more info
  • There is Excellent Television
    This made for TV mini-series is as intense as it is realistic with great acting. Definately recommended...more info