Hollywood Tv Show Review

Slow Horses Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online

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Slow Horses Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online

As anyone who’s even fleetingly dipped into the vast, storied genre of the British spy thriller can attest, there are a few different games afoot in “Slow Horses.” What looks at first like a story of restless, demoted spies finding their purpose gets quickly twisted up in MI5 politics. Then, a couple of hours into the six-episode season, the show tries to turn everything we thought we knew inside out. With its starry cast, handsome budget, and slick cinematography, the new Apple TV Plus drama (based on a Mick Herron novel and executive produced by Graham Yost) works hard to differentiate itself from every other MI5 narrative we’ve seen before. By season’s end, “Slow Horses” feels more familiar than truly innovative, albeit with some sharper acting and jokes than most others it’s following.

Case in point is the show’s choice to cast Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, a jaded spy who spends most of his days drinking and mocking his charges (i.e. agents that MI5 has otherwise rejected, or the aforementioned “slow horses”). As befits the actor synonymous with films like “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Lamb is a role Oldman could do in his sleep. Nevertheless, he brings a compelling friction to the series that particularly pops when Lamb’s cracking his snidest jokes.

It’d be a misnomer, however, to say that “Slow Horses” is “a Gary Oldman show” when Jackson Lamb isn’t the show’s most pivotal spy character at all. In fact, Oldman’s best scenes come down to his prickly energy opposite the able costars, who counterbalance the acidic Lamb and end up shouldering more of the show’s emotional weight. For one, Jack Lowden (“Small Axe,” “Dunkirk”) proves himself a standout scene partner for Oldman as River Cartwright, the requisite golden boy turned outcast with everything to prove. Saskia Reeves (truly too many British TV cornerstones to name), as Jackson’s quiet but firm assistant, imbues her moments alongside Oldman with a quiet devastation that consistently grounds the intense drama at hand in something real. And as Diana Taverner, a formidable MI5 higher-up with glares to spare, none other than Kristin Scott Thomas coats her every moment in an icy sheen. (Not coincidentally, the only “Slow Horses” figure more intimidating is Diana’s own boss, played by reliable scene-stealer Sophie Okonedo.)

Without spoiling too much, the crisis at the center of the show does its best to combine like Brexit, “cancel culture,” and the rise of white supremacists that quickly becomes a tangled knot of moral dilemmas (a combination that might sound familiar to fans of Serial’s popular new podcast, “The Trojan Horse Affair”). As Lamb, Cartwright, and Taverner work to find a kidnapped British Pakistani student (Antonio Aakeel, making the most of a largely thankless role), we spend a surprising amount of time with his white nationalist kidnappers. Despite the best (or at least biggest) efforts of actors like Brian Vernel as a particularly unstable gang member, these more clichéd scenes rarely prove the worth of their ample screen time. It’s hard to know exactly what writer Will Smith (no, not that Will Smith) is trying to say in this storyline other than that he’s trying to twist a more expected story to subvert his audience’s expectations. When that fails, all this plotline has left is the distinctly typical image of a Muslim suffering for no reason.

It’s particularly noticeable when “Slow Horses” aims for a more dramatic tone than it may be capable of when it’s in workplace comedy mode, in which it’s simply very funny (as could be expected from a writing alum of shows like “Veep” and “The Thick of It”). Beyond Oldman’s cranky boss, the Slow Horses also include charming spy Sid (Olivia Cooke), brilliant but bitter techie Roddy Ho (Christopher Chung), and a pair of bored corporate workers (Dustin Demri-Burns and Rosalind Eleazar) whose charged flirting makes for some of the show’s most charming moments. And as far as finding something interesting to say about insidious white supremacy goes, Smith’s scripts find far more nuance in a right-wing Parliamentarian character (a pitch perfectly smug Samuel West) who knows exactly how to weave his views into the country’s fabric without offending too many delicate British sensibilities.

With every episode, “Slow Horses” raises the stakes well beyond its initial setup of, “isn’t it frustrating to be a spy in exile,” which was probably inevitable. On the other hand, the series’ material is far stronger as a thrilling spy comedy than the intense spy drama vibe that ends up fueling director James Hawes’ most kinetic (and admittedly impressive) sequences. Combining both sensibilities is smart, and when it works, it really works. But as it moves into its already filmed second season, “Slow Horses” shouldn’t be afraid to lean into the cutting humor that could make its particular flavor of espionage stand out.

Slow Horses Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online