Wednesday, May 25, 2016

TV Show Review: The Night Manager

Based on a novel of the same title by the great spycraft author John Le Carré, The Night Manager was an enjoyable spy thriller with a wicked villain and charming lead character. Tom Hiddleston plays Jonathan Pine, aka Andrew Birch, in a campaign to be the next James Bond. Pine is the titular night manager at a hotel in Egypt. There he encounters wealthy Egyptians and a woman who suffers from getting too close. Certain information falls into the night manager's hands and with vengeance on his mind, he delivers this information to British intelligence.

Olivia Colman plays Angela Burr, a pregnant head of an intelligence division, and steals the show from the two top-billed actors. Burr does a better job of making Richard Roper seem evil with her lines than Hugh Laurie's subtle performance does for the villainous character. Burr recruits Pine to go undercover and endear himself to Dicky Roper and his gang of arms smugglers.

Laurie was sinister as the main villain and was backed up quite well by other British actors. Tom Hollander plays Corky, the most suspicious of Roper's goons. He immediately expects Pine's play for power but is undone by his drinking and a clever scheme to get him to take the fall for a leak in information.

Also caught up in all of this mess is Jed Marshall, played by Elizabeth Debicki. She served as a lover-for-hire to Roper but suspects that he is up to no good. Jed and Pine form a relationship as they work together to syphon information that will lead to stopping gun smuggling. David Harewood from the Showtime series Homeland shows up as an American spy and Tobias Menzies shows up as a British intelligence officer. 

The Night Manager is a great show for the spy genre. There isn't much action and the pacing is a slow build similar to many Le Carré stories. The end comes down to a smart confrontation and lots of cool intelligence scenes. I would recommend this show to fans of The Americans, which is enjoying an acclaimed fourth season, and anyone looking for a change from the bombastic explosions of summer blockbusters. The Night Manager offers an updated version of a classic spy story! 

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