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The Company [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français) [Import]

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina, Michael Keaton, Alessandro Nivola, Rory Cochrane
  • Directors: Mikael Salomon
  • Writers: Ken Nolan, Robert Littell
  • Producers: Carrie Stein, Cary Brokaw, David A. Rosemont, David W. Zucker, John Calley
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct. 23 2007
  • Run Time: 286 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000UR9T7S
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Product Description

Traces CIA activities over a 40-year period, from the beginning of the Cold War through the demise of the Soviet Union.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Big starts went to TV to make a good series about the cold war.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of the best spy and exciting movies i have ever seen.It is very suspensful and would watch it again even it is over 250 min long. The picture quality is excellent
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By sam on Sept. 24 2011
Format: Blu-ray
This is a good movie, if you are a history buff you won't be disappointed.Almost invovled every big event in last 50 years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 117 reviews
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the book Aug. 21 2007
By Kirk McElhearn - Published on
Format: DVD
Robert Littell's The Company is a massive novel that follows the history of the CIA from post WWII to the end of the cold war. As long as three books, this novel is rich and full of characterization. So it's obvious that any such book would be hard to bring to the screen, large or small. The TNT TV version, at around 4 1/2 hours, tried hard, but didn't do justice to the book. It sometimes seems like an outline of the book, and so much is left out, that the action moves too quickly, changing locations and characters, making it hard to follow. This is more so in the early part of the series; the last 1/3 focuses on a more limited situation, the attempt to find a CIA mole.

Suffering from overbearing music that is way too loud in the early parts (which makes you wonder why the music was toned down so much in the last third), and characters who are supposed to age about thirty years, but look only a few years older, The Company is, nevertheless, good TV. It will keep your attention, and the intrigue is interesting, but be prepared to give it a chance; it's hard to follow at the beginning. The acting is good, the sets and locations interesting, and the plot - good vs evil - works well, especially since we already know who won the cold war.

But if you like this mini-series, do read the book - it is probably the best spy novel I've ever read, and is so much more interesting than this over-short TV version. No film could do it justice, but I can't help but think that a couple more hours could have saved this from its weaknesses.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Measure against the novel or other mini-series? Jan. 21 2008
By Jeff - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best mini-series in a long time Aug. 23 2007
By Jeffrey A. Cruz - Published on
Format: DVD
Years ago I gave up the spy novel for the crime novel, so I was hesitant to spend six hours in front of the tube to watch this miniseries. I was pleasantly suprised. Addicted, actually! Hyped for more! Great acting, photography and directing. Michael Keaton was AMAZING in his depiction of James Angleton.

Sign me up for the DVD.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In a wilderness of mirrors, what will the spider do Aug. 8 2009
By C. CRADDOCK - Published on
Format: DVD
The Company is an epic mini-series, and if that sounds like an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, or military intelligence, then that is a fitting tribute to its subject: The Central Intelligence Agency. The Company is about the CIA and it covers a span of 40 years -- focusing mainly on the Cold War, and three men who meet on a rowing team while attending Yale: Jack McCauliffe (Chris O'Donnell) and Leo Kritzky (Alessandro Nivola) go to work for the CIA, while Yevgeny Tsipin (Rory Cochrane) is recruited by the Soviets as a spy.

Jack is assigned to the Berlin office under Harvey Torriti (Alfred Molina), known as The Sorcerer. Jack falls for the first asset he handles, a ballerina with the code name Rainbow. My favorite line is when the Soviet agent threatens him with the revelation that they've seen the two together at the opera, he responds with "It was the ballet" before opening fire. Her cover was blown by a mole and she shoots herself to avoid capture. He is shattered by her death and haunted by wondering if her identity had been given up by The Sorcerer as a "barium meal" to flush out a mole. Just as barium is used as an X-ray radiocontrast agent for imaging the human gastrointestinal tract, information is released that a mole, or a double agent, will act on, and if so, then the identity of the mole is revealed. Did The Sorcerer use the ballerina, Rainbow, as a Barium Meal? Jack goes on to other adventures, notably the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and The Bay of Pigs.

Meanwhile, Yevgeny Tsipin leads an outwardly quiet life as a liquor delivery man, but in actuality, he is passing secrets to the Soviets. He listens to a radio broadcast, and whenever he hears a quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, or Through the Looking-Glass, he knows to pay attention to the winning lottery numbers. He subtracts the lottery numbers from the serial number of a bill, revealing a phone number. Rory Cochrane does a good job as Yevgeny.

The Company covers quite a bit of territory, but there is so much to tell in a history of the CIA. There is almost "an embarrassment of riches" -- too much to tell even for a 6 hour + mini-series. Since the decision of what to leave in and what to leave out will almost certainly reveal the biases of the director and the editor, and when you are talking about a controversial subject like the history of the CIA it is impossible not to have biases, I think they have put out a fairly objective, though dramatized, version of the truth. Lefties will think it is too right wing nutty, and conservatives will say it is too leftist. It does question a lot of actions that were taken, but you might also come away with a new respect for the CIA, knowing what they were up against.

Jack, Harvey, Leo, and Yevgeny are all fictional characters, but James Angleton, played very well by Michael Keaton, was a real person, and quite a colorful one. Keaton even had to tone him down a bit, as he was such an unusual and complicated creature. Like the fictional characters from the rowing team Angleton also went to Yale, but instead of rowing he was a poet and, as a Yale undergraduate, editor of the literary magazine Furioso, which published William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings and Ezra Pound. While at Yale he was trained in The New Criticism and influenced by William Empson, author of 7 Types of Ambiguity. One of his teachers was Norman Holmes Pearson, a founder of American Studies.

During the Second World War Angleton served under Pearson in the counter-intelligence branch (X-2) of the Office of Strategic Services, in London, where he met the famous double agent H.A.R. ("Kim") Philby. Later, they would work particularly closely in Washington as Kim Philby, being groomed to head MI-6, was also in Washington, and Angleton was the head of Counterintelligence Staff at the CIA. They had regular lunches together until Philby was exposed as a spy for the Soviets.

Michael Keaton puts in a brilliant performance, covering all 7 Types of Ambiguity. As Angleton searches for "Sasha," a second mole described by a Soviet defector, you are never sure if he is paranoid, brilliant, or both. There is a very good scene where he talks to Jack McCauliffe about deception while tending his orchids. Orchids, you see, practice deception in order to get bees to pollinate them. Orchids also require infinite patience to cultivate, something Angleton has in abundance.

"Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State."
~ James Jesus Angleton (1917-1987)

As he searched for more moles, he gleaned from the defector that the KGB was not only gathering information from the moles, but also planting false information manipulating the CIA to unwittingly assist the KGB in its objectives.

Angleton extrapolated from this his theory of a "wilderness of mirrors," (a reference to line 65 of T. S. Eliot's poem "Gerontion"), which proposed that the KGB was capable of manipulating the CIA to believe what it desired, and that the CIA could neither identify nor defend itself from this manipulation.

How should I use them for your closer contact?
These with a thousand small deliberations
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
With pungent sauces, multiply variety
In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
Suspend its operations, will the weevil
Delay? De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled
Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear
In fractured atoms. Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,
White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,
And an old man driven by the Trades
To a sleepy corner.

~ Excerpt from Gerontion, Poems. 1920. by T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

The 2006 film The Good Shepherd is loosely based on Angleton's life and his role in the formation of the CIA.

The term Angletonian is an adjective used to describe something conspiratorial, overly paranoid, bizarre, eerie or arcane.

A Scanner Darkly (2006) .... Rory Cochrane was Charles Freck
Spider-Man 2 (Widescreen Special Edition) (2004) .... Alfred Molina was Doc Ock / Dr. Otto Octavius
Frida (2002) .... Alfred Molina was Diego Rivera
Chocolat (2000) .... Alfred Molina was Comte Paul de Reynaud
Batman & Robin (1997) .... Chris O'Donnell was Robin / Dick Grayson
Dazed & Confused (Widescreen Flashback Edition) (1993) .... Rory Cochrane was Ron Slater
Scent of a Woman (1992) .... Chris O'Donnell was Charlie Simms
Batman (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1989) .... Michael Keaton was Batman / Bruce Wayne
Beetlejuice (1988) .... Michael Keaton was Beetlejuice
Night Shift (Keep Case) (1982) .... Michael Keaton was Bill Blazejowski

"Who am I then? Tell me that first, and then,
if I like being that person, I'll come up: if not, I'll stay down here
till I'm somebody else"

~ Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable entertainment June 30 2008
By James W. Durney - Published on
Format: DVD
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.