Review: The Night Manager
On BestEntertainmentReviews.com we post our reviews not with the rhythm of production, but with the rhythm of consumption. Sure, we like to watch all the latest content to watch, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time. A show we start one month takes several to finish. And thus it was with The Night Manager (based on the John Le Carré novel by the same name).
First off, shows that start slow do themselves an injustice in this world of binge-watching. I know many dove into Manager with both feet, awards were awarded, and accolades accumulated. I will not detract from the show’s stellar reputation, except to say it took me a while to accept it.
I don’t know if it was me or the moment or the first episode, but something hung my binge and curtailed my enthusiasm.
But I just finished the series and found it thoroughly thrilling. Perhaps my biggest disappointment is that Hugh Lowery did not bring his Manager acting chops to the sloppy and unfunny Avenue 5.
Elizabeth Coleman, who seems to be in everything, brought the through-line through, held the narrative together through her force of nature portrayal of Angela Burr, the second-tier spy with a grudge.
Alistair Petrie, Tom Hollander, Douglas Hodge, and David Harewood deliver excellent performances as the supporting goodies and baddies.
And while Coleman wore her heart of her sleeve, Tom Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine managed to keep his in tow as he vacillated through the underworld king-pinned by Laurie’s Richard Roper.
While a love interest for a spy is usually a very bad thing, Elizabeth Debicki’s Jed Marshall neither derailed nor disavowed her lover when she was finally caught. In a Bond film, she would be very dead. In a real-life situation, she may have found her cards folded as well, but the delicate balance between loyalty and one’s own life plays out here in her favor.
In this time of government questioning, that governments were not only complicit in Roper’s activities, but intimately involved—with one small band of stalwart do-gooders willing to take on the system.
In the end, justice is more personal, more Old Testament than it is procedural. Satisfaction arrives as eyes-for-eyes and the show’s moral authorities seem OK with that.
If you need a sexy thriller with mega-explosions of both real explosions and fry humans pushed to their edges, then The Night Manager may just well be your cup of tea. Or cup of napalm. Once you get past the introductions and into the gears wound so tightly that the springs explode, you will be hooked.
In the end, you will be left wanting more. A respite is promised. Destinations remain vague for most. Somehow no matter what comes next for any of the characters, I know this will be the highlight of excitement in their lives. They may love and live and prosper, but whatever they do it will not be worthy of a sequel. For The Night Manager the end is the end, and everyone checks out with no intention of returning.
With Season 2 greenlit by AMC and the BBC, however, writers will be tasked with creating something entirely new. This sometimes pleasantly uncomfortable couch cannot be reupholstered.
For more reviews from Daniel W. Rasmus click here.
- Free w/ Prime