TV Review – The Night Manager

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The Night Manager
Writer: David Farr and John Le Carrè 
Original novel: John Le Carrè
Director: Susanne Bier

Reviewer: Laura Shoebottom

When hotel night manager Jonathon Pine discovers one of the guests dead in her hotel room, he is led into a world of chaos, deception and double crossing led by notorious crime lord (the worst man in the world) Richard Roper. The Night Manager is a myriad of crime and complicated relationships – one of the most gripping series you will watch this year.

The script is an adaptation by David Farr and John Le Carrè from the original novel (also by Le Carrè). It is a detailed script filled with unexpected twists and plenty of suspense leading up to the finale. The characters are engaging and have huge depth,  the audience can see their struggle, obstacles and ambitions so clearly from beginning to end.

We first encounter Pine (Tom Hiddleston) as a night manager at the Nefertiti Hotel in Cairo in the midst of a political uprising. Hiddleston oozes charm and sophistication whilst also revealing the pain of the man underneath. As the episode continues we are introduced to the infamous Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Laurie takes sinister to a whole new level playing Roper’s every nuance, movement and thought with ease and fluidity – he puts on the welcoming smile whilst his dangerous, power hungry persona bubbles away underneath. 

As the series progresses Pine is enlisted by agent Angela Burr (Olivia Coleman) in an attempt to try and thwart Roper. Coleman is absolutely stunning to watch, she is fiery and passionate but has definitely got under the skin of her character bringing a sensitivity and compassion to the role. Her thought process and choices are very exciting making even the most challenging scenes look so easy but incredibly moving.

Other stars among the cast are Elizabeth Debicki who plays Roper’s girlfriend and Pine’s love interest Jed. A perfect match to Hiddleston she is charming and feisty which generates a fabulous on-screen chemistry between the two characters. Tom Hollander also stars as Roper’s right-hand man Corky. Hollander has such ease on camera, Corky’s insults just roll off the tongue making him the character everybody loves to hate. 

Accompanying the wealth of acting and writing talent is Victor Reyes’ racy soundtrack which works perfectly alongside the imagery used in the title sequence – the combination of images of the hotel and the weaponry reveals just enough about the story without giving away too much before the action begins. 

The camera shots are very economic. The extreme close-ups focus mainly on the characters eyes which reveal their thought process and subtly invites the audience in. Contrasting are the expansive wide shots of the various locations look eerily empty and create a chilling isolation. The varied use of lighting also works effectively. Low lighting takes precedence in later episodes creating tension as Roper’s plans start to come in to fruition and everyone starts turning on each other, this works well in contrast to the harsh exposing lighting we see at the start of episode one then at various points throughout the series. 

Superb acting, gritty and powerful storyline. 

Available now on DVD and iTunes.