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28th May 2024

One of 2024’s best TV shows is now available to stream at home

Stephen Porzio

Featuring an Oscar-winning actor like you’ve never seen him before, the series is a must for fans of spy thrillers.

HBO’s much-anticipated spy thriller show The Sympathizer is now streaming in its entirety via Sky Atlantic and NOW Entertainment.

An adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, the series centres around the Captain (rising star Hao Xuande) – a policeman in South Vietnam during the country’s war with the United States who is secretly a communist spy for the North.

Towards the end of the conflict, he is assigned by his superiors – the Viet Cong – to flee to the US with Southern Vietnamese forces and continue to gather intelligence.

While in the States, however, the Captain struggles between his original loyalties and his new life.

Co-created by the acclaimed filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden, Stoker), alongside Don McKellar (Last Night), the show is also noteworthy for the casting of recent Oscar-winner Robert Downey Jr. in several antagonistic supporting roles – all of which are meant to represent a different part of the American establishment.

Having watched the first episode of the series – which depicts the run-up to the fall of Saigon – it’s safe to say JOE is hooked on the series, mainly thanks to incredibly stylish and intoxicating filmmaking by director Park.

For an example of this, you can check out a compilation of some of the amazing scene transitions from The Sympathizer right here:

It’s worth pointing out as well that the performances in the show from Downey Jr and Xuande are flawless, while the series also manages to capture the complexities of its subject matter in a way that is also easy for viewers to comprehend.

The series consists of seven episodes, of which Park directed three. Fernando Meirelles (City of God, Sugar) and Marc Munden (The Third Day, Utopia) helmed the rest.

Holding a 88% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, here is a sample of some of the glowing reviews The Sympathizer has received:

Consequence: “Truly transportive television, the kind of show that really does open your eyes to a new perspective on the world — and keeps you surprised the entire time.”

Inverse: “Park Chan-wook helms a twisty, stylish, and darkly thrilling seven-episode adaptation for HBO and A24, one that feels like a jolt of electricity to a genre you didn’t know needed it.” “Park Chan-wook’s direction of the first three episodes is among his finest work.”

Slant Magazine: “The series doubles as both a high-speed comedy and a dark, biting drama.”

Time Magazine: “Working alongside co-showrunner Don McKellar, Park has crafted a vibrant, faithful yet often audacious Sympathizer that matches executive producer Nguyen’s brilliant novel in both ambition and execution.”

The Sympathizer is streaming in Ireland and the UK via Sky Atlantic and NOW Entertainment right now.

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