Television: The Night Manager 1.1

Finally getting around to this as my usual television schedule falls away for summer break. Though I've read some John Le Carré, I am not familiar with this particular book. My understanding is that it has been repurposed for a modern-day story line.

So far the upshot of the plot is that Tom Hiddleston plays Jonathan Pine, the titular night manager of (at first) a hotel in Egypt. He's hit up by the mistress of a dangerous individual, she gives him some sensitive information which he passes on to British agents of some sort, and then she ends up first beat up by the boyfriend and—when Pine's people refuse to give her passage out of the country—eventually dead.

Pine then evidently paraphrases Davy Crockett and says, "You all can go to hell, I'm going to Switzerland," where he becomes night manager at some other fancy hotel. Like you do.

The information the mistress gave Pine hinges on a famous British businessman named Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie. He's clearly set up as a villain, someone peddling napalm and other such things to nasty governments and/or insurgents. But the way he announces, "I'm Dickie Roper!" when he arrives at the hotel in Switzerland is laugh-out-loud funny. He becomes very serious and dark rather quickly, but that moment is going to stick with me.

My fundamental problem with this so far is that I'm somehow supposed to believe . . . at least, I think I'm supposed to believe? . . . that Pine fell for this mistress lady in short order. He'd been the night manager for some time, it seems, and she'd been in the Egyptian hotel for a while, too, but it was only when she decided to hit on him . . . And then they had, like, one night together and it was immediate love? Maybe the timeline has been compressed, or maybe I'm not actually meant to believe it was love so much as Pine feeling bad for having compromised her and eventually caused her death, but the way it's done plays false in some basic way. As a motivator for everything that is surely set to come, I find this particular device weak.

Still, it's an interesting story so far, and beautifully shot. I'll watch more.

Meanwhile, if you like The Night Manager, or Le Carré in general, I hope you'll consider giving my novel The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller a read. It's in the same vein and available on Amazon (as linked) and a variety of other outlets (linked by my publisher here).

No comments: