TL;DR – This opener immediately drags you into a world of multiple factions that are all untrustworthy and makes you wonder who will you back?
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Netflix is this big global juggernaut, which is currently dominating the media landscape. Now while that’s fine because we are getting such amazing shoes like Stranger Things (see review) and Lost in Space (see review) however, they have not really engaged with local content as much as they should. Well, today we see the first steps in changing that with Tidelands,Netflix’s first show produced for them out of Australia. So without a doubt, there is a certain amount of novelty seeing my hometown up there on the big screen, and you can’t help but be sucked in. However, beyond the novelty is a story that had me immediately hooked and wanting to see more.
Soto set the scene, we open in a storm as waves crash across the bow of a fishing trawler, but this trawler is not out there looking for fish, it is out there looking for things it should not see. Well he saw what he should not have seen,and the next day he is found crucified on the bow of his ship with no eyes or tongue,and the local police officer Paul Murdock (Alex Dimitriades) covers it all up. We then are introduced to Cal (Charlotte Best) she is serving her last days of a ten-year sentence for arson, and after finishing a fight she makes her way up the coast to the place that was once her home, to get what she is owed. Now from this point on wards, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
I think the first thing you notice with Tidelands is just how beautiful everything is, and I don’t just mean it is beautiful because they are filming it on the Queensland coast, but that helps as well. A lot of care and attention has gone into framing every shot, which you see really clearly every time they are around water. Though Australian cinema is going through a drone camera phase at the moment, so expect to see a lot of high vantage point tracking shots throughout the film. Add to this everything is cut together well, with nothing feeling like it was superfluous, and I liked the musical backing going on.
Where you get drawn in with the first episode is that immediately something does not feel right with the town. Murder in the daylight is not something that is easy to cover up, but in a small town with only two cops, you can. But that means something more sinister is going on, people have been paid off, and who is paying them off and why. This is before we get introduced to the tidelanders who are for everyone just with weird hippy commune up the coast, but you immediately realise that there is more going on there. However, then we have Cal return home a like a cat on a table with a glass of water, things are about to shatter. Her brother Augie (Aaron Jakubenko) is running the family business (which is so not catching fish to make money),and she wants her share, as she got half of everything in her father Pat’s (Dustin Clare) will. This upsets the underlying balance of the town in ways I think we will see pan out throughout the season,though if the ending is anything to go by, people are not happy.
All of this could have come off as a bit melodramatic, given everything that is going on, however, I think it all works because the cast is there for it. Also, I like that we are getting little hints of the past which show us that the pain of this town goes back years and that there is more going on that we see. I also want to see how everything plays out, who are the tidelanders, what is that wave thingy that they are after, who is kept in a cage in their base, okay I 100% know who that is but I digress. It is the heart of a good story that captivates you and makes you want to see more, and it did here.
In the end, do we recommend Home the first episode of Tidelands? Yes, yes we do. Now I should point out there is some sex and nudity, so that might be a deal breaker for some, and that’s fair. But I really want to see what happens with Orphelin Bay or indeed under the bay.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Tidelands
Directed by – Toa Fraser
Written by – Stephen M. Irwin &Leigh McGrath
Created by – Stephen M. Irwin, Leigh McGrath, Nathan Mayfield & Tracey Robertson
Starring – Charlotte Best, Marco Pigossi, Aaron Jakubenko, Mattias Inwood, Dalip Sondhi, Alex Dimitriades, Richard Davies, Caroline Brazier, Peter O’Brien, Madeleine Madden & Elsa Pataky with Jet Tranter, Finn Little, Chloe De Los Santos, Cate Feldmann, Bianca Saul, Sam Foster, Annabelle Stephenson, Brad McMurray, Hunter Page-Lochard, Daniel Roberts, Sam Conway, Tom Cossettini, Loani Arman & Brendan Clanville.