“The Serpent”, the venom of Charles Sobhraj

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It was a time of perhaps a little silly recklessness, the pilgrimage to Kathmandu in the footsteps of the Beatles but probably not understanding much about the local culture, the flowery hair, the pants that yawn and the bodies released. Charles Sobhraj, Marie-Andrée Leclerc and Ajay Chowdhury were the dark side of this second half of the 1970s, in Bangkok, Nepal and India. Eighteen assassinations are attributed to them, with the French born in Vietnam as a manipulator, even designated as a “serial killer”, which is debatable. These murders were obviously heinous, for the money and the passports.

First, a hunt

Offered by Netflix, in co-production with the BBC, The snake, nickname of Charles Sobhraj (who also multiplies pseudonyms), tells the story of the trio on the run from 1975, the year when an employee of the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok worried about the disappearance of two compatriots. Authors Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay orchestrate their miniseries as the thriller The Hunt for the Dutchman, vigorously played by Billy Howle. The cast also deserves the praise it receives from all sides, both Tahar Rahim in the title role and Jenna Coleman in a carbon copy of Marie-Andrée – with a unique linguistic twist, since the English person plays a Quebecer.

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