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TV Review: Tin Star (Season 1)

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Riveting and suspenseful, this show will have you gripped from the very beginning.

Tin Star follows the story of the Worth’s, a seemingly ordinary family who move to a small town in Canada in the hope of helping Jim Worth’s (Tim Roth) recovery from alcohol addiction.

Yet, the small town, believed to be paradise, quickly becomes hell as the family suffers a devastating loss from which they never fully recover. Old grudges and vengeance soon become an integral part of this series, as past indiscretions and family secrets are unveiled and no character is safe from karmic retribution.

Jim Worth and his family initially appear utterly normal. Two loving parents, a sarcastic teenager and a doting five-year-old, they live in a big house by the river and struggle to adapt to small-town Canadian life after the bustle of London. Likeable and amusing, this family appears to be regular in every sense of the word, but just one moment changes this assumption forever. 

The character development in Tin Star is exceptional, as taut, suspense-filled episodes slowly draw out the tangled web of lies and secrets that hold the town and the lives of these characters up. Each of them is twisted in their own way, carefully balancing between likeable and hated, yet each remains painfully human and empathetic throughout. No matter the deed, there seems a reasonable excuse, until morality seems almost non-existent in neither the show nor in its audience. 

While Worth is the main character and undoubtedly has an intriguing storyline, it is his wife (Genevieve O’Reilly) and his daughter (Abigail Lawrie) who audiences will find most compelling. Unlike Worth, neither women begin dark and twisted, and it is this corruption that is most fascinating, as we see both of them embrace darkness in their grief. Perhaps the most changing of any character in the show, they transition from victims of crime to accessories.

Tin Star will make you question everything, revealing the dark underbelly of humanity and our true capabilities when pushed. Love and vengeance rule this show, rocking the small town that it is set in, and unnerving the audience who can too easily sympathise with the motivations of even the most evil character.

Indeed, despite the many compelling storylines at play during the 10 episode series, it is the question of our very humanity, and how good and evil differ, that are the most significant throughout.

The series opens with the murder of a five-year-old child, forcing audiences straight into the brutal and unforgiving world in which it is set. Yet, the hatred and disgust that audiences initially feel for the murderer will be twisted through the season, as secrets are revealed and perspectives change. Ultimately, even the most hard-hearted feel sympathy and grief at the killer's death, yet another terrible waste in a show soaked in blood.

Filled with suspense and darkness this show skilfully creates an eerie and isolated world in which anything could happen. The setting is particularly important for creating this tension, as the wild and isolated nature of the town, emphasised by wide landscape shots, make the natural surroundings feel especially threatening.

Camera angles and music further build tension in the show, creating an underlying anxiety which never goes away. Sound affects add to this, as each moment holds an unmistakable danger, making it unusually difficult to identify the truly perilous moments. This allows for refreshing surprises in a modern world of obvious plot twists.

A mixture of thriller and modern day Romeo and Juliet, Tin Star is a riveting watch that will attract audience members of both sexes and all ages. Compelling and ruthless it will grip you from start to finish, leaving you with more questions than answers by the end.

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