Based on John le Carré’s spy novel of the same name and adapted by David Farr (Hanna), The Night Manager is a six-part series produced by The Ink Factory, BBC and AMC.
Over 6 million of British viewers tuned in yesterday for the premiere of The Night Manager and it was met with mostly positive reviews. The premise, very simple:
A night manager of a European hotel is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate an international arms dealer’s network.
The execution, fantastic. Danish director Susanne Bier shows how a classic spy story can become engaging – successfully bringing together smart writing, compelling acting, beautifully constructed shots and scenery, and the right music (composed by Víctor Reyes). The first episode of the series isn’t a mind-blowing start as it feels like it’s going to be more of a slow burn, but hopefully satisfying and definitely intriguing.
The cinematography (by Michael Snyman) and natural landscape stand out. It looks like the series will freely take advantage of the astonishing locations it was filmed at, such as Marrakech, Palma de Mallorca and Switzerland. Apart from that, something that became attractive was the fact that it relays heavily on close-ups in a way to make certain shots more engaging, not distracting.
It’s also not surprising how Tom Hiddleston shines in his lead role as Jonathan Pine, opposite Hugh Laurie as Richard Roper, who we don’t actually see much of in this first episode. The few brief scenes they have together showcase the subtle but surely present tension between their characters. We can look forward to seeing more of these two interacting and Laurie’s full potential as a villain.
Alongside them, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki complete the main cast, offering solid performances, especially Hollander, who’s given a fresh, sarcastic, dominant role among Roper’s posse.
The Night Manager has barely scratched the surface of its story, even though the viewers actually need to pay attention in order to follow it fully. It would be good for it to become more and more complex and especially for it to take risks, as well. For the moment, it hasn’t failed at capturing an audience for its first hour, but perhaps it isn’t powerful enough to draw everybody back in for a second episode… Only time will tell.
Pine’s personal involvement in a matter which apparently doesn’t concern him should come with more than a few consequences and a greater sense of danger. We need to see more of that, and I hope we will.
The Night Manager premiered on February 21 in the UK and will air starting April 19 on AMC.