A Man in Full: Netflix miniseries Review

Jeff Daniels is the protagonist of the miniseries David E. Kelley based on the novel of the same name by the late American writer Tom Wolfe, available from May 2, 2024, on Netflix.

Image Credit: Netflix

Many have defined A Man in Full as Netflix's answer to Succession, the acclaimed four-season American series from HBO, which aired on Sky Atlantic from October 2018 to June 2023. Indeed, there are some similarities between the show created by Jesse Armstrong and the created by my colleague David E. Kelley starting from the novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe there are, above all from the point of view of the plot, the dynamics and the design of some characters, starting with that of the head of the family Logan Roy played by a superlative Brian Cox who he looks very much like the protagonist of the big N designer miniseries, Charlie Croker, in whose role we find a Jeff Daniels in a state of grace. All true of course, but if we pay careful attention to the genesis of the two projects, the perspective should be reversed. 

The pages of the bestseller by the late Richmond writer, who for those who don't know is also the author of The Bonfire of the Vanities, today considered one of the cornerstones of contemporary American fiction, date back to 1997. Since these are the raw material from which Kelley (the showrunner among others of Ally McBeal, Big Little Lies, and The Undoing) has drawn heavily to give shape narrative and dramaturgical substance to the serial adaptation, it goes without saying that it is Succession that owes a debt to A Man in Full and Not vice versa. To find out, just tune in to the Stars and Stripes platform to see the six episodes of approximately 40 minutes each that make it up, available from May 2, 2024.

A Man in Full: a miniseries that shows us what a man is willing to do to avoid losing everything

A Man in Full plunges us into media res following Charlie Croker, a polarizing and rugged real estate tycoon who suddenly ends up bankrupt. The institutions' request to repay a debt exceeding one billion dollars triggers a chain of events that will lead to the inevitable collapse of the giant built on lies and deception. A chain reaction that affects all those linked to Charlie, in a more or less indirect way, from his wife Serena to his lawyer Roger White. Against the backdrop of the city of Atlanta, economic and political interests are set in motion, circling over Croker's empire like vultures, as the man does everything in his power to protect what remains of what he built.

Image Credit: Netflix

A Man in Full is a sharp portrait of American society in the 1980s, amidst rampant capitalism, real estate speculation, and rampant corruption.

Directed by Oscar winner Regina King and Thomas Schlamme, A Man in Full is a sharp portrait of American society in the 1980s, which immerses us deeply in the universe of real estate speculation, showing the corruption and unbridled ambitions that lie hidden behind the facade of wealth. It does so with an incisive criticism of prevailing capitalism that passes through the lens of sharp irony, politically incorrect, and the scathing tone characteristic of Wolfe's writing. 

These are ingredients that the author of the serial transposition was very keen to preserve, making them fixed points that could not and should not be done without anything in the world. Which seems perfectly visible from the very first minutes of the pilot, remaining a constant for the entire duration of the horizontal line of a story that ranges from drama to comedy, from the grotesque to the surreal, from the plausible to the intimate, mixing the legal drama, the prison system, and the financial environment. A cocktail that will not disappoint expectations, made even tastier and more enjoyable by a cast of all-stars where in addition to the aforementioned Jeff Daniels, here at the levels of The Newsroom, there are other big names of the caliber of Diane Lane and Lucy Liu.

A Man in Full: evaluation and conclusion

A Jeff Daniels in a state of grace steps into the uncomfortable shoes of the tycoon Charlie Croker, the protagonist of the adaptation of the novel A Man in Full by the late writer Tom Wolfe. The showrunner David E. Kelley maintains the ferocious irony and the biting tone of the literary matrix to paint on the screen a ruthless portrait of American society in the 1980s, which immerses us deeply in the universe of real estate speculation, showing its corruption and unbridled ambitions. Anyone who loved Succession will be able to appreciate a show like this, capable of effectively mixing the legal drama, the prison genre, and the financial environment.