Monday, August 31, 2020

Maite Alberdi's THE MOLE AGENT: a sneaky hybrid doc that will amuse and move you

No one seems more surprised about the Chilean newspaper ad requesting the services of an elderly male between the age of 80 and 90 -- independent, discrete and competent with technology -- than the elderly males who answer this ad, shocked that, for a change, someone wants a fellow their age rather than immediately saying no to him because of his age. The detective agency hiring needs to place the man selected inside a senior retirement home at the behest of a client who suspects her aged mother is being mistreated there.

So begins a most unusual movie that TrustMovies imagined was a narrative film (he prefers not to read all of the press release sent him about a new movie so that he can experience it without too many spoilers) but is instead said to be a documentary. If so, this film is, at the very least one of those hybrid docs that keep you on your toes and maybe cheats just a little now and then. For me, and for most of the its running time, THE MOLE AGENT -- written and directed by a young woman named Maite Alberdi (shown at right) -- appeared to be a narrative film done in strong documentary style that grows even stronger as the movie moves along.

Ms Alberdi handles the set-up, recruitment (below) and selection of the elderly spy in quick, clever fashion which anyone who has ever worked with us aged folk regarding technology will easily appreciate and enjoy. (That's Sergio, the fellow finally chosen to be the spy, above left, and his agency boss Rómulo, at right.)

At the retirement home there are, as usual below, mostly women who, worldwide it seems, live longer than us guys. So Sergio is immediately in great demand simply by being a living male, and also because he happens to be such a kindly, intelligent and empathetic gentleman. The various women, maybe a half dozen of whom we get to know fairly well, are brought to life by being, well, those same real-life characters. You will be thinking probably even saying aloud to yourself, "This is so real, it must be a documentary!" And so it is, even if certain things appears to be either fudged or left out of our purview.

Sergio is still grieving over his late wife (who died fairly recently) and so welcomes this change of venue and this job to take his mind off his grief. And his own family members are clearly concerned for his well-being and for the legality of what is going on here. Still, the ease of Sergio's spying and the laxity of the retirement home toward what is happening with Sergio takes a certain suspension of disbelief. 

What happens as Sergio adjusts to his new home and its occupants to him, as well as how the relationship between him and his boss begins to change combine to make the movie quite special. Plus, what he and we learn about the travails of even a senior retirement residence as pleasant is this one is enough to turn your head and make you think and think again -- about your own life and those of others less fortunate.

By the conclusion of The Mole Agent, you'll have smiled a lot, been surprisingly moved and very pleased that you took the chance on this lovely little movie. From Gravitas Ventures and running just 90 minutes, the doc hits digital VOD and Blu-ray/DVD this Tuesday, September 1 -- for rental or purchase.

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