An Englishman, Jonathan Pine (played by Tom Hiddleston), is working as the night manager of a Cairo hotel. He gets involved with a local woman who is the girlfriend of a local gangster. Through her relationship with the gangster she has acquired information linking illegal international arms sales with Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie), an English billionaire. She is soon found dead, murdered due to her having this information. Fearing for his own life, Pine flees, ending up working at a remote hotel in Switzerland. Four years pass, and then Roper visits the Swiss hotel. This rekindles Pines thirst for revenge, and he is enlisted by British Intelligence to spy on Roper. What follows is a very dangerous game of intrigue and deception. Written by
This is a rare thing: a genuinely classy thriller. I've become so used to dodgy story lines and plots that resemble Swiss cheese that this is something of a shock. Of course, it helps that the acting is so brilliant with top performances from the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki but a great actor needs a great script. The bedrock for this classy thriller is, of course, John le Carre, supported in the adaptation by David Farr. Susanne Bier's direction is a masterclass. The cinematography is stunning.
It's become a cliché to say that they don't make them like this anymore, but they rarely do. For me, it's the finest thriller this decade.
Oh, and Tom Hiddleston would make a very Ian Fleming James Bond.
I keep coming back to le Carre though. Once upon a time thriller writers like him and Freddie Forsyth were painstaking in their attention to detail, writing plots that arose out of believable characters. There's many a TV series that could take note.
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