The Sympathizer Review: Robert Downey Jr Stars In Park Chan-Wook's Dark, Twisty Spy Thriller

The limited series by Park Chan-wook features the Oscar winner as several adversarial characters. The first episode of The Sympathizer is now streaming on Jio Cinema.

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The Sympathizer

Critic's Ratings

starstarstarstarstar

3

Comedy,Drama,Thriller

Release Date

Apr 15, 2024
The Sympathizer Review Robert Downey Jr Stars In Park Chan-Wooks Dark Twisty Spy Thriller
The Sympathizer Review: Robert Downey Jr Stars In Park Chan-Wook's Dark, Twisty Spy Thriller

About The Sympathizer

After winning his first Oscar for Oppenheimer last month, Robert Downey Jr's next is a dark satire titled The Sympathizer which revolves around the Vietnam War. Oldboy and The Handmaiden filmmaker Park Chan-wook is the showrunner and creator alongside Don McKellar in this limited series. While the series is led Hoa Xuande who plays a Vietnamese spy, Downey Jr changes garb often to serve as Xuande's introduction to America.
Downey Jr is more of a supporting player here again, like in Oppenheimer, to the Captain's journey in The Sympathizer. The four characters that he plays ranging from a CIA agent to a grad school professor are slightly over-the-top, keeping the tone of the series. Based on Viet Thanh Nguyen's 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, the series follows Captain (Xuande), a spy from North Vietnam who embeds himself into the South Vietnam army and later moves to the United States. While in the land of the free, Captain continues to report back to Viet Cong about any suspicious activities of the recent refugees.
The Sympathizer explores various pertinent topics including the dangerous cost of war and analyses the American system and its involvement in Vietnam. The dark comedy also looks at how the West examines racial dynamics through its Asian characters. The series is told through the lens of the immigrants who become part of the country's society. It balances politics, identity, humour and drama in a deft manner thanks to its sharp writing. The seven-part series holds promise.
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