Episode one of Tom Hardy’s Taboo aired Saturday night on BBC One; it’s marvellous, gothic and just the right amount of supernatural.
James Keziah Delaney is portrayed by Tom Hardy – an adventurer full of dark truths and secrets. The death of his father has brought James back from Africa where he himself was presumed to have died. The residents of the small town in which he grew up view him as a savage, the devil and an alien man to be weary of. His presence creates a silence and you can almost see the physical language change amongst his surroundings. It’s the 1800s and the aesthetic has been held up with shots of brothels, insinuations to incest, deathly grit and a contrast between the rich and poor.
This period drama is held together by the backbone of a strong cast. Tom Hardy is perfect for the role. In-between close up shots of his intimidating eyes and frequent grunts, he depicts a man who has gained terrifying knowledge from foreign territories that no Englishman could stand up against.
A piece of land ‘Nootka’ which has now been inherited by James, is in dispute between the Queen Mothers land and the U.S. and the border needs to be drawn. But James refuses to sell to Britain, which could present him with a dangerous fate in future episodes. A fate that his father did not survive. However, anybody would be foolish to challenge a man who can look into your soul and live amongst the shadows.
With a hybrid of cultures, Taboo with not dampen your Saturday nights but rather add an essence of dark magic, fire and nostalgia for an untold story.