Blood And Oil Review: Niger Delta Blues

March 29, 2010 by  
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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 na├»ve 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.

Kechi says:

i realise that there are so many facets to the story of crude oil in Nigeria, and i realise that one story cannot tell it all but! To tell a story this improtant from these point of views is to ambush a people’s reality. This film is made up of carefully stringed together cliche’s, the Nigerian steroetypes are choking! However sha, it does attempt to tell an important story.

femi says:

Nice piece of a young film maker in nigeria,I can frankly tell u hw unstructur and idea lacking film world is in nigeria;it has nt been easy putg real film onground,hwever I agree dat a lot of talents(hiding/uncelebrated_) are in d country bt mediocres are rullg d industry…a good storyline overshadow any lapses in d techical work!…if those in d so called nollywood cld be giving us quatre of this,I wld hv seen them as real professional! Pls I wl love to get an email of the camera n technical specification used in d film please. Kudos and thumb up to d crewe and cast jare.

CeeCee says:

I would like to agree with Jack (except for the pot part)…I was upset! this is supposed to be about oil workers kidnapped in nigeria but guess what???? half the cast is south african (speakin in broken pidjin english with ridiculous fake nigerian accents) one of the scenes right at the beginning was shot in a south african township with some the crowd speaking xhosa/zulu/sotho – this scene was supposed to be shot in Lagos or one of Nigeria’s many cities… Nigeria has wonderful talent which could have been used in most of the lead and minor roles…

The fake blood was too fake the screaming delirious crying wife too dramatised with no emotion i didnt shed a tear – the scene did not tug at my heartstrings at all…A low budget Nollywood movie (if you have ever seen one, you will know what im talking) provides more thrill..

At least though… the truth about the Niger Delta (though not completely accurate) is being told to the British public and MEND are depicted as the heroes they are … pity about the script/acting/directing/casting though

My verdict: good story but not properly executed, one and a half stars from me!

Queen says:

Unfortunately I was only able to watch the first part, I love your response admin lol!!! bout growing up in Africa!!!! from the first part that I have seen it is exactly what is happening in NIGERIA!!!!!

admin says:

Firstly, I couldn’t possibly tell you where I get my pot because my dealer would cut me. Secondly, I hear Africa’s a rather large continent…

Jack Bauer says:

First of all, I’d like to know where Emily Moulder got the pot she has been smoking, because Blood and Oil is quite poosibly the worst peice of TV drama I’ve ever seen. If I were a director of the BBC I would be embarrased with this tripe.

The direction and production is wafty, ropey and generally poor. The acting is even worse, and I’d say the Halifax adverts are more slckly produced, with better actors / actresses. All that is pretty bad, but then we get to the story line, and having grown up in Africa, I can confidently say it is definately the most implausible crap I have ever, ever seen. Completely unrealistic, and very very poorly researched.

tiffany says:

I just watched it and yes I must agree with the article that it was very thought provoking and interesting to receive an idea of the effects of issues like these on people in situations in Nigeria and other similar countries. It was a really good programme.