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
I don't normally write reviews of a BBC television dramas unless I feel particularly provoked one way or the other. Unfortunately it was because of my in-credulousness of how poor this program was. I actually found it hard to watch and certainly impossible to take seriously. The plot centres around a PR woman travelling to Nigeria to work for an oil company who's employees are regularly kidnapped or worse. Perhaps this could have been an interesting scenario. It wasn't.
Everyone is a caricature. In the opening scene the oil workers storm through a village in their Land Rovers knocking over people's property on the way- like cartoon villains. I was watching this scene with a guy who's worked for many years for a blue chip company in Nigeria who scoffed loudly at this. No foreign company acts in this disrespectful, provocative way.
Linking into this is the acting- it was atrocious- like watching actors who speak their lines like extras in a school play- seriously it was that unnatural. The kidnapped oil worker's wife spends her entire screen time crying at full volume and generally acting pathetically. Whilst our PR heroine gives almost a smug performance- acting incredibly inappropriately in certain scenes. For example instead of comforting the , albeit OTT-ly, distraught wife- she casually remarks along the lines of 'kinapping happens all the time here, don't worry' and then proceeds to sip a cocktail by the pool and make pleasantries with the hotel manager. The whole thing seemed staggeringly unnatural as did many other scenes- including the actor who plays 'Johnson' from Peep Show sporting a ridiculous American accent which was almost as funny as the, intentionally hilarious, boss he plays in Peep Show.
The disappointing thing is that there was clearly a big budget for this. But how any of this- the script, acting and direction could have been green lighted is a mystery. In a nutshell- if you want to look at Africa through the lens of a shallow soap opera production then this will be your thing. For a well acted and directed conspiracy drama set in the continent check out 'The Constant Gardner' instead.
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