The Company (Blu-ray/TV
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- Nate Goss