Tahar Rahim Becomes The Serpent

Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman in Netflix's The Serpent

Who doesn’t love a great true-crime thriller? From documentary miniseries’ like The Night Stalker and Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel to true story films like Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile, Netflix has been a purveyor of true crime like few others. Their latest miniseries, The Serpent starring Academy Award nominated Tahar Rahim, looks to immerse viewers in the thirteen-year murder spree of Charles Sobhraj. Known more to people throughout Europe and Asia, Sobhraj was pursued under the names The Bikini Killer, The Splitting Killer, and The Serpent, and claimed the lives of at least twelve victims between 1963 and 1976. 

I have to say the thing that attracts me the most to the miniseries, and the reason I’ll likely watch it all in a single day, is definitely Tahar Rahim. His performance in The Mauritanian is not to be missed, but Rahim had wanted to play the part of Sobhraj since he first learned about him at age 16. Now 39, Rahim felt like it was fate that he was offered the role, telling The Sydney Morning Herald’s Craig Mathieson that director Tom Shankland and screenwriter Richard Warlow had trouble believing whether or not Rahim was manipulating them in order to secure the role. Sobhraj was known to be a master manipulator, charming his victims into a false sense of security, so the idea that Rahim could have lied so convincingly to the two only helped him secure the part of The Serpent. 

What is it about the trailer that makes this the trailer of the week? The complete vacancy of emotion on Rahim’s face as he operates throughout the trailer, exploiting his “friends” and the love of the alluring Jenna Coleman, for starters. The build-up to the continent-spanning manhunt that has Billy Howle riled up about what happens if they’re unable to catch Sobhraj. And finally, the French version of “House of the Rising Sun” by Johnny Hallyday hits perfectly, building the suspense for the unrepentant murderer’s final confession before the title card. I also have to figure this series may contain one hell of a soundtrack too. 

The Serpent premieres on Netflix on April 2. 

Written by Sean Parker

Sean lives just outside of Boston. He loves great concerts, all types of movies, video games, and all things nerd culture.

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