Even without the extra kicker of “and it’s a documentary!,” Maite Alberdi’s latest film, “The Mole Agent,” packs an inventive punch. One part character study, one part unexpected buddy comedy, and an entirely emotional affair about the value we ascribe to our elderly citizens, “The Mole Agent” may be hard to classify, but its charms are quite clear.
Per its official synopsis: “When a family becomes concerned about their mother’s well-being in a retirement home, private investigator Romulo hires Sergio, an 83 year-old man who becomes a new resident — and a mole — inside the facility, who struggles to balance his assignment with becoming increasingly involved in the lives of several residents.” And, yes, it’s a documentary.
The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and went on to screen at a number of other lauded fests, including True/False and Nantucket. In his glowing Sundance review, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn was taken with the film’s clever charge, writing: “There’s a certain immersive thrill that comes from documentaries that hide themselves, and ‘The Mole Agent’ epitomizes that appeal. Chilean director Maite Alberdi’s delightful character study unfolds as an intricate spy thriller, in which a sweet-natured 83-year-old widower infiltrates a nursing home at the behest of a private detective.”
He added, “The plan goes awry with all kinds of comical and touching results, so well-assembled within a framework of fictional tropes that it begs for an American remake. But as much as such a product might appeal to companies hungry for content, it would be redundant from the outset, because ‘The Mole Agent’ is already one of the most heartwarming spy movies of all time — a rare combination of genres that only works so well because it sneaks up on you.”
As Kohn wrote, that all speaks to Alberdi’s rare filmmaking gifts, which “often utilize this delicate touch to explore unusual personal stories … ‘The Mole Agent’ takes that potential and clarifies it, redefining narrative clichés by giving them fresh potential in a meaningful story.”
Gravitas Ventures will release “The Mole Agent” on demand on Tuesday, September 1, with a planned theatrical release to follow at a later date. Check out the first trailer for “The Mole Agent,” available exclusively on IndieWire, below.