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The Night Manager (6 Episodes), Blu-ray (2016)

A really thrilling six-episode miniseries based on a John le Carré spy novel.

The Night Manager (6 Episodes), Blu-ray (2016)

Cast: Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman
Director: Susanne Bier
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent. 47778 (8/30/16) [2 Blu-rays]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 screens, HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
English Soundtrack for the Hearing Impaired
Length: TT: 361 min.
Rating: *****

This six-part miniseries was originally telecast on the BBC and is a thrilling spy story with great acting, cinematography and production. This Blu-ray duo is labeled “Uncensored Edition,” so there are evidently some portions that the BBC considered unsuitable for airing. For some time only the first two of the six episodes were available to those outside of the UK.

It begins with a rather reserved English night manager at a fancy hotel in Cairo, Jonathan Pine. The mistress of a noted Arab person in the hotel has him make copies for her of some papers which incriminate a supposed charitable leader who is actually using his charitable organization for refugees as a cover for his actual business of being an international arms dealer and according to at least one person “the worst person in the world.” She gives a set to the manager and says he is to send them to authorities if anything ever happens to her. They have a brief affair; then she is killed.

Pine then sends the incriminating pages to a woman working in the British secret service. She recruits him to get on “Dickie” Roper’s side and thus bring down the terrible arms dealing. Her job is made more difficult due to higher-ups in the British M16 department being involved and protective of Roper. Among other things Roper had seen the effect on dozens of children of the dangerous gas Saran and decided to offer that to those who paid his high prices, along with napalm and other weapons. Laurie’s portrayal of the sinister Roper is excellent, with a depth not usually given the bad guys in American movies. You must get used to the slower British development of the story and the lack of everything blowing up but be assured there is never a dull moment in this gripping plot. Pine suddenly finds himself in a world of international intrigue, and he forced to fight and actually kill people to convince Roper that he is trustworthy. The capper is his nearly getting killed saving Roper’s small son from a supposed thief.

After recovery from his beating, Pine is given a new name and is chosen by Roper to replace his right-hand man in the arms dealing. Pine is later forced to kill the former right-hand man to protect himself. Among other things, he is drawn to Roper’s beautiful mistress, who in the end begins to aid Pine in his undercover effort. The theme of betrayal is a strong one in the plot, as Roper begins to suspect several of the men around him. But Pine plays his part so well he is not found out until near the end. He has taken an immense chance both because of the murdered girl and because of the global atrocities Roper is creating.

—John Sunier

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