From the writer of ’28 Weeks Later’ and ‘Brighton Rock’, comes Rowan Joffe’s thriller crime drama, ‘Tin Star’. Released on Sky Atlantic/Amazon Prime, this drama consists of an all-star cast, including Tim Roth (‘Twin Peaks’) and Christina Hendricks (‘Mad Men’). The story of ‘Tin Star’ follows an ex-British police detective, Jim Worth (Tim Roth) who moves his family to the serene, peaceful Canadian Rockies, where he takes on the position of the new police chief. This move comes on the hopes that this quiet fishing town will prove to be more peaceful than crime plagued London. But things never turn out as our characters hope, do they?
The pilot episode of ‘Tin Star’ very quickly shows us that life for the Worths’ isn’t what they were hoping for in the good ‘ol Canadian Rockies. The hopes of quiet life are shattered by the presence of an oil company by the name of North Stream Oil, which is led by Mrs. Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks). New Stream Oil’s refinery brings in an influx of migrant workers who disturb the peace of the small-town life. In turn, this causes the town’s crime rate to go up and creates problems between its residents.
As the story progresses, the audience is thrown a variety of plot twists, that depict the essence of its revenge drama core. Some of these, however, fall short of truly explaining the story at hand and seem to be placed simply for their dramatic value. Others added to the overall plot and kept the audience engaged as the story continued to reveal itself.
The superlative performance by Tim Roth really kept me locked into the story, even when at times it felt a bit bleak and confusing. He has the spot-on swag of a British cop, a troubled past, an angry, no effs given attitude, and an alter-ego with suppressed memories. Let’s just say, there is A LOT to his character, and it can only be appreciated once you watch the show.
The same compliment can be made for Christina Hendricks and her portrayal of Mrs. Bradshaw. Unaware of the happenings around her, she is thrown into something sinister, complicated, and frightening. As she struggles to face this reality, you see some of Hendricks’ best work come to life. I applaud her and Roth for their phenomenal performance throughout the series; they single-handedly carried ‘Tin Star’ on their backs.
The supporting cast of the show were a mix of hit-or-miss for me. While at times they felt absolutely necessary for plot continuity, some of them felt misplaced and confusing. A couple worth mentioning, are a North Stream oil employee, Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) with revenge on his mind and corporate head, Mr. Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl), who came off as a sinister ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ type villain. Jim’s family plays a big role in the story, and we see their purpose unfold along the way.
Ultimately, while I found myself intrigued by the overall plot of the story, I also found it lost it’s purpose along the way with the flashbacks and back-stories. Things weren’t always explained properly and were left unanswered even when the season came to a close. The one too many supporting characters also created some unnecessary addition to the overall plot. This up and down nature made it hard to appreciate what Joffe’s initial purpose may have been. However, Roth’s rendition of a troubled cop is enough to give the show a try and makes for some great scenes sprinkled throughout the first season. If you’re a Roth or Hendricks fan (and even if you’re not), definitely give the show a try; I don’t think you will be disappointed by their work. And the plot (even with its confusion) carries enough weight to keep you intrigued until the end. Plus, it’s already renewed for a second season, so it definitely has the potential!
Written by Ariba Bhuvad
Rating – 7/10
Question: What is your favourite Tim Roth film or TV role?
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