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Review of "The Company" by

The Company image
The Company

Sony Pictures
$39.95 Suggested Retail Price

Michael Keaton, Chris O'Donnel and Alfred Molina star in this mini-series spy thriller about the early days of the CIA, just after World War II when they evolved from the Army's Office of Special Services (OSS) into a separate agency. The story begins with the agency recruiting bright young men from Yale to be agents in the new organization. 3 new graduates and close friends, Jack McAuliffe (Chris O'Donnell), Leo Kritzky (Alessandro Nivola), and Yevgeny Tsipin (Rory Cochrane), are each recruited. The first two join the Agency, but Yevgeny goes the other way and becomes a mole for the KGB.

Under the wing of his mentor, Harvey "The Sorcerer" Torriti (Alfred Molina), our hero Jack McAuliffe is sent to find a leak in the Agency. The pair work in the backalleys of post-War Berlin to recruit moles of their own in East Berlin. McAuliffe's contact there is a young ballerina whose grandfather is a scientist whose motives are more anti-Russian than pro-West, but who is willing to pass on information. The young girl is extremely suspicious of McAuliffe and insists on keeping her grandfather's identity a secret, but the two young people are smitten with each other and eventually become lovers.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the top leaders at the Agency are desparately searching for the mole. Michael Keaton plays James Angleton, a quiet, disdainful, arrogant man who is the head of counter-intelligence and suspects everyone, has every member of the top staff under constant survellience. As unlikeable as he is, Angleton is as quick-witted as he is scornful of others, and comes to realize that the mole is one of his old friends. But the plot thickens as we discover that there's another more deeply-buried mole named Sasha who eludes the first effective sweep of the Agency and threatens to do even more damage.

"The Company" is a pot-boiler of the first order. The series plays out over three episodes, and takes its time in developing the story, which includes some of the Agency's most imfamous blunders in Hungary and Cuba. We see how these brave, zealous, and extremely bright men set out to do their jobs with no holds barred. There are scenes of chilling torture and gripping suspence as McAuliffe eventually teams with Angleton to ferret out the moles. Few movies or television series capture the reality of these events as closely as we see here. Molina and Keaton give Emmy-worthy performances, and Chris O'Donnel shows that he's not just another pretty face and is capable of stirring portrayal of a young man who's torn between his allegiences to his friends, his country, and his love.

Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our November, 2007 issue.

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