Boat Story, BBC1 review — thriller awash in gimmicks and graphic violence
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Every week, Roula Khalaf - the Editor of the FT - chooses her preferred tales and shares them in her newsletter.
It's not possible to get something for nothing. Two people who are up early walking along the coast of Yorkshire discover a stranded boat full of cocaine worth millions of pounds. They quickly decide to take the drugs for themselves after a short discussion. These two strangers become partners in crime; Samuel, a lawyer in debt and Janet, a former factory worker with injuries. They can't say no to the opportunity to make a small fortune. However, the problem is that the owner of the drugs is not exactly a generous person. He is the type of person who demands a high price for any theft, even if it means spilling blood.
Boat Story is a new BBC series that explores what happens to regular folks who neglect their morals and rationality. Harry and Jack Williams, the creators behind The Tourist and Fleabag, are the masterminds behind this production, and they seem to have drawn influence from the Coen brothers. The show takes a similar approach to Fargo and Burn After Reading, which both center around unexpected discovered evidence. In poking fun at human wickedness and cleverly satirizing common storytelling practices, Boat Story combines dark violence with humorous silliness and unconventional quirkiness.
A group of experienced British actors, including Paterson Joseph and Daisy Haggard, lead the cast in a peculiar and unpredictable tale filled with unusual characters and plot twists that rely heavily on storytelling techniques like narration, titles and flashbacks. Though the cast is more than capable of handling the whimsy, it may be difficult to truly connect with a storyline that is spread thin over six hour-long episodes. While it's a relief to watch a thriller that doesn't take itself too seriously, too much quirkiness may hinder our ability to fully engage with the show.
The excessiveness is not limited to the plot, but also includes the extreme violence and killing portrayed in the visuals. One scene where a massacre is carried out casually is especially hard to watch, particularly considering recent real-life tragedies. With the story constantly shifting between extreme violence and light-heartedness, those who decide to watch Boat Story may feel a bit uncomfortable.
Tune in to the first and second episodes of a TV series on BBC1 airing at 9pm on November 19 and 20. Following episodes will be released weekly and can also be watched on BBC iPlayer.