Based on John le Carré’s 1993 novel, The Night Manager, this AMC/BBC television miniseries is a spy thriller directed by Danish phenomena Susanne Bier (Of “A Better World”, see my October 7, 2014 review). Luxury hotel night manager Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), situated in Cairo during the impending Arab Spring, faces off against Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie of “House” fame), a formidable gun-runner turned financier and philanthropist living on the island of Mallorca. Roper is an international jet-setter who entertains his beautiful mistress and his entourage in the Swiss Alps, Mallorca, and wherever arms deals can be brokered.
Pine is contacted by an intelligence operative (coordinated between MI6 and the CIA) who asks for his assistance in taking down Roper by infiltrating Roper’s virtually impenetrable inner circle. After several horrifically violent scenes, Pine seems to have succeeded.
The combination of star power performances by Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston make The Night Manager fun to watch with a distinct James Bond feeling. Hiddleston is every bit as sexually magnetic as any of the past James Bond actors who elicits lust in every woman who meets him. And seeing Laurie as the evil villain we’ve come to expect not in our curmudgeonly Dr. House but in every antagonist in a Bond movie, the viewer can’t help but enjoy Laurie’s performance even as we root for Pine.
Like a Bond movie, part of the pleasure in watching the story unfold is suspending one’s disbelief at the preposterous plot lines and heroic battles. The Night Manager is as easy to watch as it is to forget, with sumptuous shots of Mallorca and Switzerland that could hold their own against any travelogue.
Suffice it to say the spycraft in The Night Manager is entertaining with a quirky subplot on the sad bureaucratic lives of government intelligence officers. The first episode of “The Night Manager” was broadcast on April 16 and past episodes are available at www.amc.com