• James Rutherford

'The Mole Agent': A Delightful Chilean Documentary About an 83-Year-Old Undercover Agent


Movie poster for the 2020 Chilean documentary The Mole Agent (El Agente Topo)

The Mole Agent (El Agente Topo) is a delightful and affecting Chilean documentary that follows the adventures of 83-year-old Sergio Chamy, a nimble retiree hired by an investigative firm to infiltrate a retirement home in Santiago as an undercover agent.


When investigator Romulo Aitken is contracted by an unnamed woman to inspect her mother’s care facility to determine if she is being robbed and/or mistreated, he places an ad in the local newspaper in search of an elderly gentleman who is discreet and capable with modern technology. Of the many applicants, it is Chamy’s intelligence and astute demeanor that earn him the job—sending him undercover as a new resident within the facility armed with a variety of spy cameras. Chamy conducts a careful probe of the residents in search of his target, secretly reporting his findings to Aitken while inadvertently tempting several of the female residents romantically.


Written and directed by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi (The Grown Ups), The Mole Agent is an absorbing and enjoyable interlude, with Chamy's investigation slowly transforming from a lighthearted mystery to a contemplative reflection on aging and human affinity. Tip of the hat to Alberdi for crafting such a unique and moving film—it’s an undeniably charming docu-drama that earned a well-deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2020.

 

Watch the trailer: