A couple of weeks ago, the BBC’s adaptation of John Le Carre’s ‘The Night Manager’ premiered to an impressive 6 million viewers. According to TV rating statistics, a fair few of those 6 million, are women. This will come as no surprise to the BBC bosses as the leading man is the popular British actor Tom Hiddleston, most popular for playing Loki in The Avengers. Are people watching solely for Hiddleston or is The Night Manager actually good?
The Night Manager opens with Hiddleston’s character Jonathan Pine working as a hotel manager in Cairo, there he discovers information about artillery being sold to fund wars, all stemming from the shows ‘villain’ Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). This discovery leads him to become a double agent of sorts for Angela Burr (Olivia Coleman) an intelligence agent, his mission is to infiltrate Roper’s world and find out his plans.
After the first 3 episodes premiered, I couldn’t quite figure out if I liked the show or not. The story is clear but the pace is incredibly slow and at times it’s too boring to take note. There are more close ups of Hiddleston’s eyelashes than you can shake a stick at and his performance is the standout but does it really save the story?
After these slow three episodes, it does get better. As Pine, who is now Andrew Burch, digs himself deeper into Roper’s compound. Corky, played by the wicked Tom Hollander is Roper’s sidekick. Like an annoying lap dog who is suspicious of a twig breaking, he interrogates ‘Andrew’ 24/7 remarking ‘do you know what he’d do to that beautiful face?” in regards to Jed, Roper’s girlfriend who he believes may stray. His suspicions are right as ‘Andrew’ and Jed sneak back to their room to get 20 seconds of disappointing pleasure. Nevertheless that 20 seconds was enough to send Twitter into a meltdown as teenage girls and middle aged women showered themselves with the garden hose after seeing a couple of flashes of Hiddleston’s behind.
Corky sees through Andrew’s façade even calling him ‘ a hand grenade’ that will go off before Roper’s very eyes. However, as the following scene displays, Corky has a crush on Andrew and takes any opportunity to grab his crotch and behind in a grossly embarrassing display of ‘catch me if you can’. Andrew now has a company, money and artillery to fund his billionaire lifestyle and although he is working undercover, you can’t help but see that he secretly enjoys being there and ‘having purpose’.
As Hiddleston handles the machine gun that he has been handed by one of Roper’s men, he looks every inch the James Bond character that he has recently expressed desire in playing. As the story heats up so does the pace and we have no idea who is playing who. With the BBC in talks for a second season, we could be seeing a lot more of leading man Tom Hiddleston. However, if you can’t wait then you can catch him as Dr. Laing in Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s ‘High Rise’ in cinemas 18th March.