THIS IS THE BEST TV SERIES I've ever watched. Maybe because it combines everything I love. Asia, fashion, and music of the 70s, the main character who lives his life like a character from a book, because it is impossible to do this in real life.
The Netflix / BBC miniseries The Serpent tells the story of the famous con man and murderer Charles Sobhraj, who in the 70s hunted Western tourists who came to Southeast Asia for experience, drugs, and enlightenment. Sobhraj was a thunderstorm of the "hippie path" - the exact number of his victims is unknown, but he killed according to various estimates from 12 to 24 people.
Charles Sobhraj was not your typical serial killer. He did not commit violence out of uncontrolled aggression, but rather to provide for and protect himself. He spent the victims' money on gambling and used their documents to hide from the police. However, many believed that he suffered from either psychopathy or dissocial personality disorder.
Canadian psychiatrist Robert D. Haer, after many years of work as a forensic psychiatrist, developed a Checklist of Signs of Psychopathy, which can be traced back to indicate that there was an abnormality.
Superficial charm, shallow charm.
Egocentrism, a conviction of one's greatness and extraordinary significance.
The need for constant mental excitement.
Pathological deceit and a tendency to cheat.
Cunning, a tendency to manipulate.
Lack of feelings of guilt and regret.
Callousness, lack of empathy.
Hot temper, poorly controlled outbursts of anger.
Behavioral problems under 12 years of age.
Failure to realistic long-term planning.
Multiple marriages, frequent change of partners.
Juvenile delinquency under 15 years of age.
Violations during probation or release.
Irresponsibility about their actions and deeds.
A history of several items out of ten: burglary, robbery, drug use, imprisonment, murder or attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons, sexual abuse, criminal negligence, fraud, escape from prison.
I wanted to highlight specific positions that are inherent in the hero, but I realized
It is necessary to highlight everything except the first point, in which I am not entirely sure.
Hippie tourists and local trendy youngsters know Sobhraj as Alan Gauthier - he is a successful gem dealer, a drug dealer (everything is curious about the situation), the soul of the company, a charming handsome man who throws the best parties in Bangkok. You can always hang out, drink, and dance with him. Alan is a favorite of foreign tourists. And while having fun and drinking, few people pay attention to the fact that not all of Gauthier's guests leave his apartment unharmed ...
With most of his victims, Sobhraj first made friends and charmed them, like a snake hypnotizes its prey. Because of this, and because of his phenomenal ability to avoid punishment for his crimes, he got his nickname. Some tourists integrated into his criminal family helping, covering, and playing a role in his Temple of a successful, carefree life. One of them was the Canadian Marie-André Leclerc. A stylish young man, fluent in several languages, easily subdued the girl to his will.
"I tried to get his love, but gradually turned into his slave" - wrote in her memoirs, Marie-André.
By 1975, Sobhraj had developed a stable fraudulent scheme: he helped hippies, whom he put in a difficult position. He allegedly treated tourists suffering from dysentery. He poisoned them himself - with the help of Leclerc, who was a former nurse. They mixed penny preparations of Mogadon and Kaopectate. One of the drugs is not compatible with ethyl alcohol, and this "drug", as a rule, entered the victim's body with alcohol.
In 1970s Asia, it was easy to avoid police attention by knowing the right people and having enough money. Besides, Western tourists were of little interest to the local authorities, because tramps with backpacks flocked to the tart smell of grass. Therefore, they did not look for the killed people, what to take from the hippie junkies.
On the trail of the Sobhraj, a small employee of the Dutch Embassy in Thailand Herman Knippenberg, who is trying to find out the fate of the Dutch couple, came out. Their families are alarmed and ask the embassy for help. Except for Knippenberg, no one cares about the missing students. But he does not stop: he finds the missing, or rather their charred bodies, and begins - contrary to the demands of his superiors - his investigation, which leads him to Gaultier.
Sobhraj is now 76 years old. He spent more than half of his life in prison. Even serving a life sentence, he continues to gather fans around him. In 2003, a crowd of fans from the United States gathered outside the walls of a Nepalese prison. They truly admired the killer; one of the fans stated that he is ready to invite him to dinner after his release. In 2008, Sobhraj announced his engagement to 24-year-old Nepalese Nihita Biswas. Through the girl, he conveyed a request to journalists not to call him a serial killer, since "no court has proven this."
“I thought Sobhraj was a victim of colonialism who was taking revenge on the West by destroying representatives of its counterculture. But when I met him, I realized that he was just a psychopath,” wrote the killer's biographer Richard Neville.
I will not go into details about the show, otherwise, the viewing pleasure will be completely spoiled. Note that it is worth watching carefully, paying attention to the dates. The creators of the series abandoned the linear narrative, trying to create volume for the whole hero, to tell about them in more detail and more interesting. From scraps and fragments, an incredibly interesting human image of Charles Sobhraj is formed. A person with a mudblood complex and bestial hatred of the imperialists, which manifests itself simultaneously in the desire of the damned colonialists to kill for their own sake, and in the desire to manipulate and subjugate those who are weaker. In the performance of Tahir Rahim - the star of "The Mauritanian" - Charles turned out to be both very attractive and demonic.
Bonus for those who want to read the biography of the Bikini Killer.
Music from the film creates the atmosphere of Nepal, Thailand, and Kashmir from the 70s.