Blood And Oil Review: Niger Delta Blues
BLOOD AND OIL: Monday 29th March, BBC 2, 9pm ALERT ME
If you’re sick of environmental lectures on oil then not to worry – Blood And Oil is more about the human cost to the areas in which we drill. OK, I know that that’s not much better but when it comes to oil; someone’s always paying and it’s not always the people we think.
Alice Omuka is a London based PR expert for an oil company operating in the dangerous Niger Delta. When Mark Unwin, a British employee, is kidnapped by a local militant group, Alice is assigned to the region to help spin the situation.
Mark’s wife Claire, feeling useless at home, travels to Nigeria to await his release. After a deal is made, Claire and Alice are told the hostages will be released alive but at the meeting point their bodies are found shot and hanged.
Now in the murky world of Nigerian politics, Alice and Claire must discover why these seemingly innocent hostages were killed when a source tells Alice that they were released alive.
Naomie Harris heads up the cast as the kind-hearted but naïve Alice, who dives head first into danger in an attempt to find the truth. Her character’s turmoil over wanting to find out what happened provides the thrill of the story as she must decide if it’s worth her job and her life. Harris is a wonderful performer to watch but I was distracted by the fact that she is dangerously thin and looked like she might topple over at any minute.
Jodhi May’s scenes as Claire are mostly of her falling apart at the seams over the death of her husband but May relishes in it, giving a tear-jerking performance that any actress would be proud of. While she isn’t given too much to do other than shout and cry, the next episode should prove more exciting for her character.
Tomorrow’s episode will also be a chance to see more of David Oyelowo’s inspirational community leader, Keme Tobdo. His speech about the power of local people against corporate corruption is enough to make you give him a standing ovation due to Oyelowo’s overwhelming sincerity.
Blood And Oil is a sharp political thriller that isn’t afraid to also be deeply emotional.