May 28, 2016

The Night Manager

The Night Manager is one of three John le Carré novels that I return to often. Tinker Tailor and A Murder of Quality are the other two.

I've written about the difficulty of turning le Carré novels into films and watched A Most Wanted Man with a sense of dread that would not allow me to finish the film.

Recently the BBC and AMC teamed up to make The Night Manager into a six-part miniseries and I approached it with the exact same dread. But the writers, David Farr and John le Carré himself, did a very odd thing. They exposed some of le Carré's weaknesses as a writer:

- Le Carré consistently steers a reader into deep bouts of characterization and can make a scene last longer than a marathon without boring the readers.

- In sticking with these two strengths, le Carré consistently neglects plot and allows cynicism about institutions (read here: paternal roles) to leave a reader hopeless about the state of the world.

All of that was corrected in The Night Manager series. The bad guys get what's coming to them. The good guy is not left helplessly beaten. The fuckers in government are slapped. And the various pieces of plot are woven together to keep the story moving. It is the most cheerful and dramatically rewarding changing of a story I've ever seen.