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Mark Unwin is one of four employees of Krielsen International oil company captured by militant group MEND whilst they are working in Nigeria. His wife Claire flies out with Alice Onuko, Nigerian-born, British-raised P.R. for Krielsen. When the women arrive in Port Harcourt they are told a ransom has been agreed - as is the norm since MEND depends on ransoms to fund itself. However when civil rights worker Keme, acting as go-between, escorts the women to the handover place they find only the corpses of Mark and his co-workers. Next day Claire meets a journalist who tells her the men were killed by the Nigerian government after their release by MEND and he is himself later found dead. She also learns that he was having an affair with Angel, a prostitute, whom she confronts but who is whisked away in a car before she can say anything. Alice is equally shocked to find that her father has made his money less than scrupulously from oil. Keme is jailed but Alice levers Tunde, the police ... Written by
don @ minifie-1
Many conspiracy thrillers feature as their hero an initially cynical journalist, keen to get the story but not actually caring. 'Blood and Oil' perhaps shows us why by featuring two heroines who do not fit this template: the earnestly emoting wife of a murdered oil worker, and a glamorous PR consultant who may be repeating her employers' lines, but who genuinely believes them to be true. The plot, set in the region of the Niger delta, predictably exposes their illusions; but the characters are too pure for the story, in a world where everyone in power is corrupt there's something wholly predictable about the basic narrative arc, and too much seems just too neat, and consequently shallow. To give one example, when it seems that no-one can help the widow as she tries to track down her husband's mistress, it turns out that the one person who knows something and is willing to let her know is the kindly gardener she had met earlier; there's a definite feeling of scriptwriting by numbers here. The acting is mediocre and lacking in subtlety (I've rarely seen a drama where internal feelings are so universally telegraphed on the actors' faces); while the final conclusion, where the PR person finds redemption by working for a good cause, is also glib and questionable (because she can afford to do so; and because some might say that a better world needs less PR, rather than a redistribution of resources). In any case, she still looks as glamorous dressed in quasi-ethnic garb as she had done earlier in a business suit. 'Blood and Oil' deserves credit for tackling a difficult and weighty subject; but it's not truly serious drama.
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