The Night Manager: Review

The Night Manager is the kind of series that makes you crazy even before you discover it. Knowing the casting (the face to face Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie makes your mouth water), the writer (John Le Carré) and the film director (the amazing Danish film-maker Susanne Bier), it’s impossible not to be impatient to see how it’s going to be.

The first episode sets up the plot. It all starts in a luxury hotel in Egypt, in Cairo. Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), a former soldier, is working as night manager. He meets a woman, Sophie, who gives him incriminating documents about arms trafficking, involving a very rich businessman, Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Jonathan promises to protect and get her out of this situation. But things go wrong and Sophie is found dead in his hotel room. Years later, we find Jonathan, still as a night manager but in a luxury hotel in Switzerland. He will meet Richard Roper and then begin to work with a British intelligence agency whose unit is headed by Angela Burr (Oliva Colman).  His infiltration begins among Roper’s team. Thanks to its discretion, charm and apparent calm, Pine integrates very quickly the group, despite the doubts of Corky (Tom Hollander), who find him too perfect to be honest, and so suspects him very quickly to hide something. To complicate matters, Pine falls quickly in love with Jed, Roper’s girlfriend. Until the end we don’t known if Pine will succeed but we also know that he will do anything to reach his goal. He wants to revenge the death of Sophie and stop this man at all costs, even if this push him to disobey to the intelligence services and to undermine the whole operation. And Roper’s men are everywhere, which makes it very difficult to trust anyone, even within the secret service.

The Night Manager is like a movie, you don’t have the impression to follow a series. The places, the music, the film-making… We recognize elements from Susanne Bier, like the close-up or the way she deals with the characters… It’s like a real spy film, not the one with a lot of action scenes but the ones like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The actors are all excellent. Tom Hiddleston shows us that he can play everything and we can now imagine him as the perfect new James Bond. It’s also a pleasure to see again the amazing Hugh Laurie playing a character like Mr. Roper. Every character, even the supporting roles, are important and well-written. Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) is determined and she is alone against the world, one of the last one to be honest and impossible to corrupt. Richard Roper is the bad guy, doing one of the worse thing in the world but you will almost never see him be violent which makes him be more powerful. The suspense is in each episode. Until the very last episode we don’t know how it will end. We never get bored, the plot is enthralling and at the end of each episode you want an only thing: see what happens next.  It’s one of the best series for the moment, everything is perfect and now we are hoping we will have a season two.

Photo Credit: Mitch Jenkins/The Ink Factory/AMC

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Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.