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The Rig – Everything is Rigged on the Big Oil Rig

SERIES REVIEW – Iain Glen of Game of Thrones and Resident Evil fame stars in this creepy paranormal thriller set on an oil rig that is under attack by supernatural forces. The miniseries is in six parts and can be found on Amazon Prime.

 

 

It’s hard these days to isolate characters enough to make a truly compelling, suspenseful and dramatic series in this genre. In The Rig, the main characters are set on an oil rig in the North Sea, where an unknown but fast-approaching, possibly supernatural force shuts down all communications. As Alwyn, the crew’s sage (Mark Bonnar – an actor with an expression so impassive and a presence so unsettling that he almost qualifies as a supernatural force himself) puts it, “If you keep hitting the Earth, it will hit you back.”

 

 

… and then disaster struck…

 

The men can’t wait to be helicoptered home at the end of their latest mission. Young Baz (Calvin Demba) would like to go in a helicopter right now, but communications man Fulmer (Martin Compston) would go instead because the Company wants the latter back for a special meeting. The serious antagonism that is rapidly building between the two is deepened by rumors that the Company is planning to dismantle the rig crew and that their jobs are all in jeopardy. However, their return to shore is diverted at the last minute to help with an incident on another rig, and trouble soon breaks out everywhere. And this happens before anyone realizes that Fulmer is regularly keeping secrets on various matters, along with his company representative Rose (Schitt’s Creek’s Emily Hampshire, visibly uncomfortable in an underwritten role).

Suddenly an inexplicable fog rolls in. The rig begins to shake. The rigs shut down (or possibly go into overdrive – it was the jargon-laden part of any thriller set in a little-known industry that the viewer doesn’t need to understand.) Our heroes don safety gear as open parts of the oil platform are shrouded in a menacing fog and other unexpected events that signal an imminent disaster occur. Flames erupt from a nearby rig, which can’t be good news either.

 

 

Only Mulder and Scully are missing

 

Things take a turn for the worse when Baz laboriously climbs a communications tower in the fog to repair radio contacts and – after a dead seagull and some ominous noises – descends in a less laborious but near-fatal manner, smashing himself to pieces as he slams into the deck from a great height.

Then events become increasingly spooky as all the rigs in the sector shut down, ash begins to fall from the air, and in the end, Baz almost reanimates his body to tell his stunned but frankly – given the events – still not quite worried enough colleagues, “It’s already begun…”

In addition to the supernatural element, the story traces the psychological impact of involuntary confinement and lack of contact with the outside world on men. Hutton (Owen Teale) – a mixture of genuine grievance and a love of sarcasm – exploits the instability to challenge Magnus’s authority (yes, even though he’s Iain Glen!) and incite rebellion. In contrast, others prefer to cling to routine and repression.

 

 

Ecoscience rules

 

The author David MacPherson’s father worked on an offshore drilling rig for many years, and MacPherson himself has been involved in organizations working to mitigate the climate crisis since completing his Masters in Environmental Studies. Ecoscience also permeates the story (“We’re fossils digging fossils”) without demonizing those who seek work in polluting industries.

Macpherson’s The Rig fits well into the “trapped crew turns on each other and makes alliances while trying to get home” genre, of which we have seen some examples in recent years. As with the examples mentioned above, there is a supernatural element here, which is not clear what it is in the first episode, but becomes more apparent later on.

The characters on the oil rig are mostly presented as what we call “other-dimensional” characters. They are not very original, but as the story unfolds, their motivations are slowly revealed, and they become somewhat complex.

 

 

The acting is excellent

 

What saves the series from being ridiculous is the overall correct acting. A stellar cast of British character actors turns their normally boring characters into more interesting characters. With so many characters and so many different stories to deal with, a series like The Rig needs actors who can squeeze as much as possible out of their limited character portrayals. And fortunately, the majority of this cast can.

Although there isn’t much character development at the start of The Rig, the acting is excellent and makes the tension that builds on Kinloch Bravo palpable. While not overly original, the supernatural part is an interesting and logically constructed story thread. I think the six-part series is worth a watch for fans of the genre because the well-dosed tension and the excellent acting can keep the viewer glued to the screen despite the clichés.

-BadSector-

SERIES REVIEW - Iain Glen of Game of Thrones and Resident Evil fame stars in this creepy paranormal thriller set on an oil rig that is under attack by supernatural forces. The miniseries is in six parts and can be found on Amazon Prime.     It's hard these days to isolate characters enough to make a truly compelling, suspenseful and dramatic series in this genre. In The Rig, the main characters are set on an oil rig in the North Sea, where an unknown but fast-approaching, possibly supernatural force shuts down all communications. As Alwyn, the crew's sage (Mark…
Although there isn't much character development at the start of The Rig, the acting is excellent and makes the tension that builds on Kinloch Bravo palpable. While not overly original, the supernatural part is an interesting and logically constructed story thread. I think the six-part series is worth a watch for fans of the genre because the well-dosed tension and the excellent acting can keep the viewer glued to the screen despite the clichés.

The Rig

Direction - 6.8
Actors - 8.2
Story - 6.5
Visuals/Music/Sounds - 7.4
Ambiance - 7.2

7.2

GOOD

Although there isn't much character development at the start of The Rig, the acting is excellent and makes the tension that builds on Kinloch Bravo palpable. While not overly original, the supernatural part is an interesting and logically constructed story thread. I think the six-part series is worth a watch for fans of the genre because the well-dosed tension and the excellent acting can keep the viewer glued to the screen despite the clichés.

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