Those who know Colin Farrell as a handsome Hollywood face will be truly amazed to see the Irish actor in the TV series “North Water”. Bearded, puffy, and menacingly stocky, Farrell embodies one of the darkest villains of recent TV production in the series.
“North Water” is a five-part BBC television series based on the novel of the same name by English writer Ian McGuire. The series and the novel take place in 1859, in the era of the greatest conjuncture of whaling, a period when English and Scottish whalers bloodily killed and extracted whale oil. The hero of the series is Sumner ( O’Connell ), an Irish surgeon who was dishonorably discharged from the imperial army. He must therefore accept the unattractive job of a doctor on a whaler. There he clashes with Drax (Farrell), a dark and vicious harpooner. The doctor believes, namely, that Drax committed a murder that he is trying to attribute to someone else. At the same time, the captain of the ship ( Graham) hides a secret plan: he intends to sink the ship for insurance. All this is happening at the title location – a place along the west coast of Greenland where the sea rarely freezes.
“North Water” creator Andrew Haigh is one of the finest contemporary British directors, author of the melodrama “Weekend” which is often described as a gay version of Lean’s “Short Encounter”, and the excellent drama “45 Years” starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay. A director specializing in powerful but production-modest chamber dramas did well in a series full of majestic exteriors. “North Water” is a good cross between “Terror” and “Taboo,” and Farrell’s transformation into a bearded darkling could resonate far in the film awards season.