THE MOLE AGENT 2020 (A $3.99 rental on Amazon Prime) With The Mole Agent, filmmaker Maite Alberdi set out to make a film noir documentary about a spy in a nursing home. She did not expect it to transform into an aching meditation on isolation and loneliness. She set up a camera crew in the nursing home, telling the staff that she was making a documentary about day-to-day life in the home. She had already contacted Detective Aitken. He’s a former federal police investigator turned private eye who had already handled four cases in nursing homes. Eventually, a client contacted the detective because she wanted her mother watched to make sure she was being treated well inside a long-term care facility. Now they had to hire an 80 to 90 year old to be a spy, and put an ad in the paper. In the movie, we see various seniors in the interview chair responding to the help wanted ad. They’re baffled anyone would want to hire someone over 80, but they jump at the opportunity. They found their spy in an octogenarian and, after learning the technical aspects of the job, the camera followed him around as he attempted to discover if the client’s mother was being well cared for or not. As the gentle spy befriended the people in the home he came to care for them and to pay attention to them, and what began as a Pink Panther-type spy story became a treatise on the loneliness and playfulness of the residents in the long-term care home. They were being well cared for, including the client’s mother, and blossomed under the attention of the Mole Agent. Gary felt the ending of the movie was touching, but it was a long wait, and can’t give it higher than a grade of C. After reading about the film, I probably would grade it a bit higher than Gary. After all, the critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 95%. I think it is easier to see a subtitled film on a large theater screen, and watching at home probably affected our appreciation of the movie. GRADE B/C
Alberdi explained that the gender breakdown in this particular nursing home is not common
in Chile. (There were only 4 men and many more women.) Men are usually dumped in homes,
while women are kept with the children or grandchildren they raised. However, this particular home
goes back decades, with a clientele largely made up of women who never married,
had children or found their independence with careers.