The Night Manager is a miniseries based on a novel by John Le Carre, and was written by David Farr, directed by Susanne Bier and stars Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Coleman, and Elizabeth Debicki.
For this modern adaptation of the novel, which takes place in the 70’s, Farr makes it more relevant by moving it to January 2011, during the Arab Spring Awakening where Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston), a former soldier, is working as the night manager in a hotel in Cairo. Pine is introduced in a scene that has him walking through the streets in a light blue linen shirt and cargo pants, while all around him things are exploding and gun shots are going off, none of which seem to phase him. It’s a beautiful shot. When he arrives at the hotel, and his co-worker questions his sanity, he responds, “I’ve seen worse.” This scene encapsulates Pine, who plays everything close to the vest and is not easily ruffled.
Pine’s wardrobe as the night manager, consisting of a blue suit, sets his character apart from every spy movie, including Bond, which it has been endlessly compared to. Hiddleston looks sharp and unflappable in the suit, leaving you constantly questioning what might be going through his head, which is part of the fun. Are his small smiles amusement or attraction?
He meets Sophie, through her comes into the knowledge of some dangerous secrets involving the arms trade and a man called Richard Roper (Laurie), “The worst man in the world.”
This description is an interesting contrast to the scene where we first officially meet Roper, as Pine does, where he introduces himself by saying, very affably, “I’m Dickie Roper.” Hugh Laurie cheerfully calling himself Dickie Roper is a scene in itself.
In London, Angela Burr (Coleman), an MI-6 officer, learns of the information about Richard Roper, which is not a new name to her, and she contacts Pine, eventually getting him to agree to work with her to help MI-6. Coleman has many of the cleverest lines and she does a lot with them.
The movie has an international story that moves to locations that include Switzerland and Spain, but Bier manages to make this large story seem very intimate, with close shots that create intimacy and add suspense.
The show has a very cinematic quality to it, and really feels like you’re watching a film. All of the actors are wonderful, and many of them have characters that are often acting themselves, adding multiple layers to each performance, particularly Hiddleston, who has the challenge of showing the audience what Pine is going through without showing the rest of the characters. It is almost like a film noir, except in this world of darkness, everything is bright and colorful, and the darkness is hidden behind the beautiful and exotic locations.
If you miss this show, you’re really missing out on some great entertainment. The Night Manager premieres on AMC on Tuesday, April 19 at 10/9c.
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