Taboo: Series 1 review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
When Anglo-Saxon speaking offerings are concerned, British series productions almost always end up being better than their counterpart American ones; maybe it’s because of the air or something, but that has been the case with ‘Utopia (2013)’, Lucky Man (2016), and countless others that at this point I’m honestly losing track. That isn’t to say that American productions don’t have their appeal (‘Ash VS Evil Dead (2015)’, ‘Stranger Things (2016)’), but their version of what “better” means very much differs of the British “better”, and in a couple of foreboding ways too.
First of all, the camera work; Taboo: Series 1 features some of the best camera work seen in recent history, and this also includes the lightning, sets, and geography as well (as all of those are ultimately intertwined) to surmount to a one-of-a-kind experience that would satisfy even the most hardcore of critics. Now, featuring a talented cast (Tom Hardy, David Hayman, Jonathan Pryce, Richard Dixon, and Oona Chaplin among other actors), teamed up with a proven director with unarguably some loss of touch (Ridley Scott), Taboo: Series 1 is a chilling and mysterious experience of how one human’s determination can change the fates of many – at no cost of lives to spare.
And so, the show goes onwards. What’s interesting about the premise of the show however, is the notion that rarely events happen around these characters; in fact, the characters’ motivations perfectly blend with the surrounding events to a point of being done ludicrously good. For instance, tom Hardy’s James Keziah Delaney always acts on his own volition and is a true carrier of an agency; but, underneath all of those complex layers, therein lies a deeply flawed man, one with many mental transgressions and viable inner conflicts, his true self being that of what the world projects onto him and he onto the world. Granted, I’m beginning to sound cryptic at times, but that’s because of the audience’s good since I don’t want to spoil any major moments in the series as is.
So, what’s in fact Taboo: Series 1 all about? Well, it’s about the conflict between the Kingdom of Britain and America in 1814, where candle-lit rooms, horse-drawn carriages, ruined docks, and dark alleyways are commonplace whenever you turn; add to that the mystical fog that rises over the river Thames every morning and that sinking feeling that something is deeply flawed in this town it’s what Taboo is all about. On top on all of that, who else but the East India Company – one of the world’s most powerful corporations to date, unbeaten in revenue, grit, and the ability to topple its competition wherever it feels like it. And this is exactly where James Delaney operates and all else stems from within this eerie setting.
For those who got Goosebumps by solely reading the above passage: this series is for you my loves.