The following is a review of the BBC/AMC mini-series The Night Manager, directed by Susanne Bier.
Strictly scheduled mini-series don’t always land with me at the right moment. I latch onto longer television shows or movies much easier, but once in a while some mini-series will pop up on my radar, and some aspect of it will pull me in. In 2015, Show Me A Hero was the mini-series for me, and Oscar Isaac was the main reason why I gave the HBO mini-series a chance. Now, I have found a mini-series that is exactly what I need. BBC’s The Night Manager is pretty great.
The Night Manager, based on the John le Carré novel of the same name, follows Jonathan Pine (played by Tom Hiddleston), a former British Soldier and current night manager at a hotel in Cairo, after he has experienced the murder of a woman who stayed at the hotel. Pine soon becomes familiar with Richard Roper (played by Hugh Laurie), an infamous British arms dealer. After having meet the intelligence operative Angela Burr (played by Olivia Colman), Pine is recruited and agrees to go undercover for Burr. Jonathan Pine must now stop Roper – the worst man in the world.
It has become dangerous to categorize something as belonging in the beloved spy-genre. There are the action-driven Mission: Impossible-films, the equally thrilling Jason Bourne film-series, and, of course, the charming espionage tales of Agent 007 – James Bond. Tales of espionage can be driven by information, action, tension, or charm. The Night Manager definitely isn’t all-out action, but it does contain tension-driven performances, a very charming character, and a desperate hunt for information.
Susanne Bier is a good Danish director, though I haven’t always been wild about her projects. I really enjoyed The One and Only (“Den Eneste Ene.”), but I wasn’t as fond of her Academy Award-winning film In A Better World (“Hævnen.”). I definitely don’t think I’ve ever loved a Susanne Bier-project as much as I’ve enjoyed watching her mini-series The Night Manager, though.
It was great to see Elizabeth Debicki in the role of Roper’s wife. I thought Debicki did a good job in both The Great Gatsby and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. But even though I thought Debicki did a solid job in The Night Manager, it is Colman, Laurie, and Hiddleston who will garner the most praise from their performances in the BBC mini-series.
Olivia Colman was great in the episodes of Broadchurch that I’ve seen, and she doesn’t disappoint here. She handles all of her scenes very well, even if the scenes at MI6 weren’t the most entertaining ones. Hugh Laurie was solid as well. He, as an actor, didn’t make a false move in the entire show. Laurie was true to his character.
Tom Hiddleston is the actor everyone who has seen the show has been talking about, and you definitely see why. Hiddleston’s character is very different from the typical Hiddleston-character. Pine, though perfectly debonnaire in the first episode, goes through quite a transformation, and Hiddleston doesn’t disappoint at any moment.
My interest in the show probably peaked right around episode four. The third episode in the mini-series didn’t do much for me, but episodes one, two, and four were the most satisfying episodes in the series for me. The final two hours – or rather, the final two episodes – definitely didn’t work as well as the beginning four. But while I do think the ending was a bit underwhelming, the show, as a whole, was very effective.
I’ll admit that there were times when I wasn’t quite sure this was for me. But there are enough fantastic moments for you to hang onto. Ultimately, The Night Manager is a solid mini-series with strong performances. It is definitely worth your time, and if it hits you like the show hit me, then there will be moments where you think it is fantastic.
– I’m Jeffrey Rex