Opening credits sumptuous scene-setter for The Night Manager

I’ve finally caught up with dramatization of John Le Carre’s novel The Night Manager on Australian free-to-air station, SBS through its On Demand platform. (There’re lots of gems hiding in plain sight there.)

The series met my expectations and more – great writing and acting; sets were lavish and seemed real – I particularly loved the Devon cottage in Episode 3; as well as the luxury villas – who lives like that? And much has been written of the performances of the lead roles. What I particularly liked was that Olivia Coleman’s long-suffering, hard-working spy character could be pregnant – in years gone by that would have precluded her being cast. So, little gains are being made.

But all throughout the watching, I have been haunted by the opening credits and the music accompanying it. There is some good information online (here and here) about how the makers approached fashioning what is often an overlooked scene-setter for any piece of film/video. And in these days of binge-watching, you can often skip through the credits. I found with The Night Manager, that watching the credits got me back into the zone each time, reminding me what I was watching, and through the emotion generated by the visuals and the music, set me up for the next instalment.

The music is composed by Victor Reyes, and there’s also discussion on-line about its similarity to the opening credits theme for Westerworld, the production of which was also done by Patrick Clair.

I can’t hear it myself, although I do agree that there are similarities, and the quality of the production values is the same. But The Night Manager theme is all ebb and flow, with minor crescendos to accompany the visuals as they change from the luxury item to an image of a weapon; each time dropping back to something safe before taking us somewhere dangerous – which follows the story-line of Pine’s journey. This matching of visuals and music is what makes the sequence so effective, to its ultimate end where everything explodes. Brilliant.

There’s talk of a second series. Here’s hoping that if it is made, it will live up to the quality of this original in every respect, including the opening credits.

 

Copyright of original source material is acknowledged.

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