Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Company(2007)

I visited my sister yesterday and spent almost all day with her family. I had great meals and also a lot of cookies and candies that she especially prepared for me. I think I am too old to have grand meals and I was overfed by my sister, but I had good time with them.

We watched some TV programs together when we had our meals. I had to watch Doraemon because my nephew loves it; I had to watch some Japanese soap operas because my sister loves them. I think I am right that I don't have television in my house because I found out that most Taiwanese people spend too much time in front of their TV. (Well, I spend too much time with my laptop and this is a problem, too.)

When I finally had chance to control over TV remote controller, I switched to movie channels. I rarely knew what channels were showing what movies so I was channel hopping absent-mindedly. I switched to Cinemax and the movie that it was showing caught my attention immediately.

I didn't know what the program's title was at that time, and I was caught in the middle of the movie. I enjoyed it though and I found out the storyline right away. The story was about CIA during Cold War. I could recognize few familiar faces from the movie, so I did some search online and figured out what the movie was.

The program is called The Company, a TV mini-series starring Chris O'Donnell, Michael Keaton and Alfred Molian. The mini-series is based on Robert Littell's almost-nine-hundred-page novel of the same name, and it covers most famous events happened during Cold War.

The first impressive feature of the series is it gives those household names new faces different from their previous characters. I was especially impressive by Michael Keaton's performance when I watched it. He was no longer the wicked and nasty ghost in the Beetlejuice or the not-so-dark dark knight in Batman. And Chris O'Donnell wasn't the young student in Scent of a Woman any more. I hadn't seen other good movies he stared for years, but he is pretty cool in The Company.

The second feature that interests me is the story. It depicts few famous historical events happened during Cold War and the manipulation of CIA behind those events. I love historical drama, I am no expert of Cold War so I don't know if the cause and consquesence of those events presents in this mini-series is accurate or not, but the storytelling was fluent and I was confused even though I don't have enough background knowledge.

I found out that only watched two episodes: The Hungarian Uprising and the Bay of Pigs. Few lines from those two episodes made me think of few things.

When I watched The Hungarian Uprising, Frank Wisner--played by Ted Atherton-- questioned why US didn't give military support to the uprising against the Soviet. The US had spent some much time and money to train those who are against the communism all over the world, and wait the right time like the Hungarian Uprising, but the government didn't take any measure when the timing was right.

When I read/listened to the lines, I had an idea that Taiwan was one part of them, the one trained/manipulated by the CIA. Taiwan was one that swallowed up in the conflicts between the Democracy and the Communism. I suddenly felt a strange bond that connects Taiwan to the rest of world. But what price Taiwan has been paying?

I watched first half part of The Bay of Pigs. One scene was funny to me. Harvey Torriti (played by Alfred Molina) asked one head of mafia to assassin Castro. Taiwan Intelligence agency learned the lesson--recruiting gangsters to conduct secret mission-- from CIA. I was thinking no wonder Jiang Nan Case happened. All I should say all intelligence agencies are all the same.

The Company is a 360-mintue mini-series, I only watched 100 minutes yesterday. I think I wouldn't have chance to watch it replay on TV, I would watch its complete version when its DVD is available.

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