The Night Manager

We watched this off of the heels of another (albeit more oblique) homage to le Carré, The Ipcress File, and it's remarkable where this succeeds and where this fails in comparison. I do not think that neither Hiddleston nor Laurie did a terrific job in their respective roles, but they were servicable (and certainly the budget — which must have been astronomical for 2016 BBC standards — was put to good use).

But the sacrifices made to le Carré's original plot in order to make this a little bit more television-y are felt, especially in the final two episodes. Hiddleston's character acts in a way that is patently absurd, and Laurie's refusal to just kill him outright is equally daft. The necessity of the showrunners to tie everything up in a neat bow is... so very American, and feels like a betrayal of the source material.


Sometimes a show can be redeemed by a single scene, and here is what I will remember about The Night Manager: four minutes of Laurie gleefully detonating bombs and dispersing napalm, streaks of red and orange across a pitch black sky. Tremendously good cinema, beautiful and chilling in equal parts.

Want to read more?
Found an issue on this page? Let me know.
© 2023 Justin Duke • I hope you're wearing your favorite sweater.