cast: Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden, Olivia Cooke, Saskia Reeves
director: James Hawes
Streaming Platform: Apple TV+
Filmyhype.com Ratings: 3.5/5 (three and half star)
One of the most anticipated series Slow Horses from Apple TV+ finally released on platform. The six-part miniseries starring Gary Oldman is a hypnotic game of mirrors. And not only because it is a spy story, where obviously almost nothing is what it seems. instead, Slow Horses proposes exactly what a mirror does to provide the person who looks at you through it reproducing a semblance of reality, when it is instead the reversed perspective of him.
Slow Horses Review: The Story
A six-episode adaptation of Mick Herron’s first novel, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award, by Will Smith, Slow Horses tells of the Slough House, the ” home of the outcasts”, the “landfill” of MI5 which for one reason or another – above all errors or collateral damage, such as leaving top secret documents on a train or risking blowing up an entire station – find themselves having to answer to Jackson Lamb. Lamb is a gruff and scruffy section leader played by a Gary Oldman who on the one hand winks at his Mank and on the other pays homage to classic noirs, complete with a messy office immersed in fog and smoke and a condescending secretary.
In the encounter with the most contemporary spy stories, the narrative is seasoned with that typically British humor, together with the textbook twists that will reveal conspiracies that, as often happens in this type of story, lurk more inside the house than they are. think initially. To captain the cast, along with Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays Diana (nicely nicknamed Lady D), the head of the cold and inflexible agency, while the “underdogs” team is made up of BAFTA Scotland Award winner Jack Lowden, and with him Olivia Cooke, Saskia Reeves, Dustin Demri -Burns, Rosalind Eleazar, Christopher Chung, Paul Higgins, Freddie Fox, Chris Reilly, Steve Waddington, Paul Hilton, Antonio Aakeel, Samuel West. Rounding out the crowd of actors who enrich this brilliant British cast are the cameos of Sir Jonathan Pryce (we can’t wait to see him in The Crown!) And Sophie Okonedo.
The main reversal of the show is due to the original novel written by Mick Herron, to which the show adheres with almost total fidelity for at least five episodes. Since the source material is very well organized and precise in the tone he intends to develop, there really was no need to make any actual changes. The protagonist of the story is veteran Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) a disgraced MI5 secret agent “parked” at the head of a separate location of the agency where all those who, in one way or another, have ended up. fiasco. The latest addition to the flock of “losers” is River Cartwright (Jack Lowden), who, however, decides to get back into the game when a group of extremists kidnaps a young man threatening an atrocious execution.
The pages of Herron’s novel present us the secret agents protagonists as we never had met them before, that is light years away from the glamor and courage of James Bond. The people who work in the so-called “Slough House” are fearful, often inept or excessively resentful and full of themselves. In short, perfect material to build a great little comedy of horrors, a study of characters that the show stages with the right sense of mockery.
Slow Horses Review and Analysis
Slow Horses is not just a contemporary spy story, which brings to light issues such as one’s beliefs through a high profile kidnapping – and it does so between the lines involving a young aspiring stand-up comedian who says “you can joke about everything. but not on religion”.
It is also a tribute to noir and this can also be seen through the photography in shades of gray, starting from the typically espionistic theme, with the pieces of the puzzle that are broken down and put back together, and the direction of the six episodes entrusted to James Hawes who demonstrates that he knows the subject and knows how to play dynamically with the camera and with a tight editing to increase the tension in the viewer’s vision.
Direction at times claustrophobic – we are constantly in these gray offices together with the characters, whether they are the official ones of the agency or the “remedied” one of the Slough House, whether it is the “Park” headquarters of operations or some dark and smoky alley of London.
Slow Horses immerses the characters in a non-story in which everyone seems to withdraw from the idea of becoming protagonists, and this creates a short circuit of corrosive meaning, episode after episode. Apart from Cartwright, every other figure seems to lose interest or, even worse, drag themselves as much as possible to the division of the events that occur. Obviously for some of them it is an admirable game of mirrors, where the reflection can hide the truth of a past to be covered up, of a remorse that has not subsided, of a pain that appears impossible to completely remove.
There are no heroes in this miniseries, but behind the patina of dust that covers many of the main environments you can still glimpse real figures, who struggle in everyday life but perhaps still possess that spark of dignity capable of redeeming them. And so the screenplay by Will Smith (namesake of the actor) and the direction of James Hawes build scene after scene a human mosaic that starts as a comic and then acquires a subdued but precise dramatic depth, in the last two episodes even vibrant.
The other fascinating game of mirrors that Slow Horses proposes concerns in a more precise way Gary Oldman an instructor who clearly had a lot of fun developing Jackson Lamb, who since the noisy presentation in the pilot becomes the radical antithesis of George Smiley, a character he represented (until to date) the best interpretation of his career, at the time of la mole (2011).
Where the legendary figure created by the pen of John Le Carre had allowed Oldman a magnificently restrained performance, perfectly measured to compose the refined psychology of a man accustomed to taking refuge in normality to carry out his duty, Jackson Lamb moves exactly in the opposite direction: vulgar, ostentatious, even brutal in its sincerity, the agent hides his skills behind a curtain of abusive and provocative attitudes.
Oldman goes back to working over the top, freeing his histrionic instinct with an effectiveness worthy of admiration. He’s the beating heart of Slow Horses, a joyfully iconoclastic spy story that deserves a non-preconceived vision. And at the end of the sixth episode you can already savor the trailer for the second season!
Slow Horses Review: The Last Words
Oldman goes back to working over the top, freeing his histrionic instinct with an effectiveness worthy of admiration. He is the beating heart of Slow Horses, a joyfully iconoclastic spy-story that deserves an unspecified vision. And at the end of the sixth episode you can already savor the trailer for the second season! A narrative balance that does not overwhelm either in one sense or the other and strikes thanks above all to the interpretation of Gary Oldman.