25 September 2021

Brilliant


When it comes to TV drama, different people like different shows. I have recently finished watching a five part BBC series called "The North Water" and I have to say that in my estimation it was bloody brilliant. I take my hat off to the director - Andrew Haigh, the cast and the talented production team that helped to bring  Ian McGuire's original story alive in spite of its particular challenges. I was utterly enthralled though, as I have already suggested, it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Largely set aboard a whaling ship in the middle of the nineteenth century, "The North Water" is never pretty. Seals are clubbed, a whale is successfully hunted  and there's fighting and sheer brutality. The central character is the ship's newly recruited surgeon - Patrick Sumner played by Jack O'Connell.  He has inner demons to battle.

Much of the drama was filmed in The Arctic Circle and this factor seeps into the acting, strengthening the sense of authenticity.

It is about survival and it's about revenge. There are spiritual elements to it all and the sense of a battle between good and evil. As I watched, I could almost feel the bitter Arctic cold.

Never once did I stop to ponder the believability of a scene. I was entirely convinced by the artistic pretence and swept along by it. So often I feel short-changed or underwhelmed by much trumpeted shows but that was not the case with "The North Water". It was of the sea but it was earthy, realistic  and thoroughly entertaining

Jack O'Connell as Patrick Sumner

24 comments:

  1. I like authentic shows and movies, but, like you, I have been often disappointed by acting because it was so obviously just acting. This happens even in highly-touted series and multi-million grossing movies. Maybe my standards are impossibly high, I don't know. It has driven me away from the big and small screen, to the point where I don't watch any more. Give me a good book any day and I'll use the movie projector in my head. It's nice that you've found something to watch that you really enjoy and appreciate.

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    1. I agree with you Jenny. We start so many films and series and give up on them as the acting is awful or the script is bad. We only watch tv for about 1 hour an night. We do our jigsaws or read.
      Briony
      x

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    2. There's a movie projector in your head Jenny? Is it a Samsung one or perhaps you went for the even smaller Hitachi micro-projector? Mine's a vintage one that takes up most of the space inside my skull.

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  2. Sounds like a very good series to watch when you give it such a good recommendation.

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    1. It's set in the Arctic so I think you would find it spellbinding too Red.

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  3. It is good when you find a drama that totally absorbs you into believing the experience you are watching. I am not sure that this particular one would be my cup of tea perhaps. I need cheering up.

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    1. I bet Lord Peregrine would love it as I did.

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  4. I looked at it on BBC1 player but decided against it because of animal cruelty. I am sure they did not actually kill seals or whales in the filming (unless of course you tell me otherwise). But it looked a tad bit too rugged for me.

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    1. The killing of the polar bear was even more "rugged" as you put it.

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  5. "sheer brutality". It said something like that in the Radio Times. No way am I going to watch that.

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    1. At times it reminded me of your Icelandic adventure. Did you by chance kill a polar bear and climb inside its chest cavity?

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  6. I wonder if we will see it here. I would watch but as I sit at my keyboard, I am not in control of the tv remote.

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    1. In order to take charge of a remote control one must pass some very taxing exams.

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  7. We watched the first episode of this and started the second but when they went seal clubbing I turned it off. I know, I'm a big softy. lol
    Briony
    x

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    1. It does seem like the kind of show that men would find more appealing. Sorry for sounding sexist!

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  8. The trailer look good. Also Northern water tastes nicer than Southern water.

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    1. The South Water would involve a lot fluoridisation and the use of nets.

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  9. Jack O'Connell (Patrick Sumner) has the capacious jawbone of Charlton Heston.
    *Will Penny* and *Major Dundee* : Heston moved his toothy mandibles like O'Connell.

    Ian McGuire, author of *North Sea* has a new novel in paperback.

    *The Abstainer* is loaded with praise from Roddy Doyle + Richard Ford.
    It is set in Manchester in 1867 : A veteran of the American Civil War joins a proscribed secret society (the Fenians) intent on ending British rule in Ireland.

    *Two men on opposing sides,* the blurb reads, *one thirsting for blood, the other striving for sobriety.*

    Let us all keep the Queen's peace and strive for sobriety.
    Haggerty

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    1. Sobriety is overrated unless of course one is an alcoholic.

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    2. Alcohol is overrated unless of course one is an Glaswegian.
      Haggerty
      P.S. We used to say Glasgovian, the guttural muse.

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    3. Do Glaswouijans connect with the spirit world via ouija boards?

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    4. Haggerty is a spirit in utmost torment; in life he never learned to read beyond The Dandy; in eternity he carries the chains of his semi-illiteracy, not to mention his addiction to Guinness, black shag tobacco, ladies with flaming red hair, and the writings of Flann O'Brien aka Brian O'Nolan aka Myles na gCopaleen.

      Hamel(d) still missing his Ursula.

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  10. We have a multitude of Sky channels to watch and most of them show rubbish. A good plot and quality acting still makes for good viewing 50 years later.There are lots of British gems on YouTube. Last night I stumbled across Kisses at Fifty, a play by Colin Welland filmed in the 70s with themes just as valid today. Set in the gritty North, songs by the Oldham Tinkers. I had great fun recognising Claude Greengrass and Vera Duckworth among the great cast, much younger than I had seen them in Heartbeat and Coronation Street. Quality actors whose work lives on. Cheers Adele

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    1. You are right Adele. Good writing and good acting can transcend time. Over the decades, the BBC has put out some brilliant drama.

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