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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Espionage > TV Mini-Series > Cable > The Company (Blu-ray/TV Mini-Series/Spies)

The Company (Blu-ray/TV Mini-Series/Spies)


Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B-     Film: B



Chris O’Donnell.  Alfred Molina.  Michael Keaton.  Who would have thought that these three would ever be in a mini-series together?  Certainly not I.  Guess which one of these is not like the other?  That’s right… Mr. O’ Donnell and he certainly takes the cake for being the no-talent sore thumb sticking out here in this recent TNT-broadcast Mini-Series The Company (2007) that chronicles a 40-year period of the CIA starting with The Cold War and leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union.  That in and of itself is an ambitious project to which The Company seemed optimistic to achieve.  The series runs 6-hours in length and also includes other talents including: Natascha McElhone, Rory Cochrane, Tom Hollander, and Ted Atherton.


Part of the reason this project got off the ground though involves its huge producing cast with both Ridley Scott and Tony Scott being credited, as well as 9 others!  Directing the series is Mikael Salomon, who has recently worked as a TV director, but prior to that started out as a cinematographer and his most notable work is his American films like The Abyss (1989) and Always (also 1989).  There are obvious reasons why a project like this is now more interesting and higher in demand, mostly brought on by other similar films being released, such as The Good Shepherd and Breach (despite being about the FBI, both reviewed elsewhere on this site), but the whole ‘Espionage’ genre is starting to make a bit of a comeback, which it’s nice to see a revival the James Bond series helped forge into modern mainstream filmmaking.


I was impressed with several things about this particular series and it’s a shame that there are not more productions like this happening.  The first thing that was impressive is just the overall production, which was higher than most TV series and there is no doubt that money was spent wisely in making this production as authentic looking and feeling as possible, which was partly contributed by the cinematography by Ben Nott and the 1.78 X 1 1080p High Definition image really gives the series a superb appearance.  There is sharpness and depth that is seldom found on TV and it has a more film-like appearance in general that works very well, plus the 40-year period is treated in such a way that as time passes on the ‘look’ of the series changes to reflect that.


The second impressive aspect is that the series tackles a large chunk of time and handles that with a good pace that never seems to cheat its way through something.  The overall speed of the series feels about right and handling the challenges of these eras, plus the various countries like Moscow, Budapest, Cuba, Washington, Berlin, etc are really well done and seem to satisfy even the most critical historical buff.


Put together these pieces of a solid script, competent director, a handful of ambitious actors and funding from a variety of producers and it’s no wonder why The Company stands out as one of the better Mini-Series in a long, long time.  Too long in fact and we rarely get this caliber material anymore that is determined to be a winner.  The Blu-ray disc achieves a great deal of things, including a strong transfer and the series is split across 2 discs allowing for less compression, which enables the transfer to remain consistent and strong.  Add to that the uncompressed PCM 5.1 mix, which is also rock solid and you have for a very desirable disc.  The dialogue in particular is very striking as the uncompressed mix enables a clearer sense of the spatial-ness within the settings and the crispness allows for a very natural and balanced soundfield.  Music and other effects, including some ambiance, is placed with the right proportion in the surrounds to gain a sense of enclosure and depth.


Extras include a making of segment that is just as good as the series itself and contains parts in HD and other parts in SD as well as the ‘origins’ of the company, which help to explain the efforts in making this series a reality.  All in all these are very informative and help gain a better appreciation of the work that went into making The Company and making it as good as it is!



-   Nate Goss


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