The miniseries ‘The North Water’ is set in Hull 1859, is extremely dark and foreboding, and the main characters are not at all likeable, but that’s the point. It should come with a warning that there are some fairly graphic scenes of the whalers killing seals, a whale and other creatures.
Colin Farrel plays harpooner ‘Drax’, an evil, brutish, amoral curse of a man and portrays him pretty damn well. Another main baddie is actor Sam Spruell as ‘Cavendish’, and Spruell really relishes playing those wholly dislikable characters and does it so well.
Jack O’Connell plays the main part, a disgraced military surgeon, ‘Patrick Sumner’, who becomes a ship’s surgeon. Even Sumner has his faults and as the viewer, I’m not relating too well to him as any sort of hero. Increasingly, television series and films nowadays have protagonists who are deeply flawed, and in ways, as troubled as the baddies. There are some instances of back-story explaining Sumner’s history and how he ends up embarking on a voyage on a whaling ship, but the backstory falls apart somewhat and comes to an abrupt end. I do see O’Connell now developing as an actor even more in this role. I’m really waiting for O’Connell’s next series, ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’ to come out next year and see where that goes for him.
Episode 4 of North Water attempts to show O’Connel experiencing the harshest of arctic conditions and his acting skills are tested in solo scenes in the latter part of the episode. Worth a look, this series, if you like something dark now and again. I think I’ll need a good comedy or romance to lighten the mood once this is over.
Dark and Foreboding
It’s extremely dark and foreboding, and the main characters are not at all likeable, but that’s the point. It should come with a warning that there are some fairly graphic scenes of the whalers killing seals, a whale and other creatures.