BC Review

The Company: TNT

8/03/2007 07:46:57 AM

The New York Times: "History has shown that neither the K.G.B. nor the C.I.A. was nearly as powerful or effective as it once seemed. “The Company” provides a welcome break from that reality; it’s an escape into the bracing, deluded days before the cold war ended, and the war on terror took its place." Newsday: "Getting inside the heads of these "spooks" is something historical novelist Robert Littell, scriptwriter Ken Nolan and director Mikael Salomon do beautifully, with subtly rich evocations from top-notch players such as Alfred Molina as the bunkered-down and boozing Berlin chief, and Michael Keaton, the detail-oriented home office drone whose horn-rimmed meekness masks a tenacious mind willing to delay gratification for decades." Variety: "The challenge of condensing Robert Littell’s nearly-900-page novel, combined with some unfortunate casting choices, ultimately defeats "The Company" — a handsome six-hour limited series that meticulously pores over the same spy-counterspy Cold War stones as recent feature "The Good Shepherd." A historical fiction spanning 40 years, the narrative lurches through the first two hours, incorporates more action (without adding much enlightenment) in the second chapter and finally races to knot its loose ends in the finale. Credit TNT with a nice try, but this uninvolving CIA chronicle does little to merit such a prominent tour of duty." New York Magazine:  "…we go on watching because of Keaton, whose clockbug Angleton seems practically deliquescent, as if his ego boundaries have dissolved in booze and grandiosity, and he can no longer find himself in his own “wilderness of mirrors,” among modernist literary tropes of moles and doubles and covers and codes, of unreliable narrators and disinformations, of underground men and secret sharers. Otherwise…The Company is both surprisingly slow and remarkably tendentious." The Wall Street Journal:  "The series’ mixing of fictional characters with real ones and its mangling of history for dramatic purposes can be jarring for people familiar with the era. Jack’s appearance, Waldo-like, at the center of every maelstrom gives the entire enterprise a ludicrous air. But if you can view "The Company" as a basic thriller, and ignore its gaffes, you’ll find entertainment here."

You can watch an interview with Alfred Molina of The Company below, courtesy of B&C sister publication Variety.

Compiled by Sarah Outhwaite