thecompany.jpgTNT
Night 1 / Sunday 5 August @ 8pm
Encores Sunday 5 August @ 10pm & Midnight

A few months ago I got a softcover book in the mail called “The Company.” It was so large (and so not Harry Potter) that I put it to immediate use as a doorstop. I saw the cover with a photo of Chris O’Donnell, Michael Keaton and Alfred Molina staring at me, and thought, you know what, I’ll wait for the movie. It’s what TNT is calling a six-hour limited series. It spans such a long period of time that O’Donnell’s hair goes white. We begin in the 1950’s amongst the world of CIA, KGB, spies, dicks and the women they loved and lost. It was a time when men wore fedoras and trench coats and called each other “Sport.” And once you get past the initial Dick Tracy-esque shock, you can see that it’s pretty brilliant. For one thing, Ken Nolan has written a fantastic script based on that big novel by Robert Littell (Emmy voters, get the notepad out). The story is a gradnseose retelling of the Cold War that covers the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Bay of Pigs, and culminates with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. There are spies, moles, Yale boys gone Alias and plenty of intrigue to keep our attention for three weeks. The first night’s story is split between DC, Berlin, the Soviet Union – showing us the CIA kids (among them, Michael Keaton, turning out a calm and honed performance) and their spies abroad. The connective tissue, is that of three pals from the Yale crew team (O’Donnell, Alessandra Nivola and Rory Cochrane) who get caught up on either side of the story, and it looks as if they are being set up to clash and tackle the friends vs. country conundrum. By the end of night one, I was completely enthralled. It’s not a bang ’em up shoot-out, but a coy and canniving mystery, and I’m staying ’til the end.