What begins as a bit of a lark blossoms into a moving reflection on old age and loneliness that should strike a chord across the generations.
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Alberdi’s comic-caper approach soon fizzles. Like Sergio, the film is hunting for drama, something to merit the 007 guitar and upright bass riffs of Vincent van Warmerdam’s score.
The Mole Agent may not look like a documentary, but it builds to a poetic finale enmeshed in emotional authenticity.
The movie’s straddling of the dramatic and the documentary forms is unsettling. Unless you unquestioningly accept its method, this chronicle can look like a glaring invasion of privacy. But the film’s people are moving, and the payoff is compassionate, humane and worth heeding.
A refreshing, beautifully made documentary set in a nursing home under suspicion of elder neglect, Maite Alberdi's The Mole Agent begins with its tongue in cheek but grows quite moving by its end.
The Mole Agent is a perfect film. From a technical and emotional viewpoint equally, The Mole Agent possesses no flaws. Yes, as with every documentary, manipulation is openly displayed and validity can always be questioned, but The Mole Agent dissuades any inkling of pessimism or negativity through its unabashed sincerity.
The Mole Agent may stumble through some of its choices at first, but it sticks the landing by finding a cogitative dissonance and refusing to solve it.
For however quaint and sporadically quirky it is, The Mole Agent is an earnest look at old age, and a community full of people just like Sergio.
That Maite Alberdi’s camera itself is present in The Mole Agent as a quasi-ethical concern suits the way Sergio, as he shuffles through the home’s hallways, gradually comes to be uncomfortable with his own surveillance.
Sergio himself has real gentleness and is a lovely character, and there is some amiable comedy about how he is starting to enjoy himself in the home. But he is marooned in a tricksy, gimmicky film.