Taboo: A Review by Guy Walker
TABOO is gaining quite the following. Primary reason: TOM HARDY! Women LOVE him. Cinema LOVES him. He is a bona fide film star and consummate actor. And for some strange reason, he never really plays the game in Hollywood. Instead? He varies his choices, veering from big budget blockbusters (Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max) to reading kids’ stories to..well..TABOO.
Does the programme feature mumbling? Yep. Does Tom go a bit nude (yes, girls..he shows his ‘toight’ body but if that’s not enough for you..I can sometimes be found drinking with a best buddy who looks just like Mr Hardy and for some reason, all the women seem to come to my table when he accompanies me?).
Is it the visceral, kinda violent stuff one associates with this colossus of acting in all genres he graces? Yep. And in the week where his first screen-test for STAR TREK: NEMESIS has been doing trending rounds, now seems an opportune moment to examine how and why TABOO is worth a view.
And so, I recruited an old ally, Guy Walker to trace the literary lineage of this instant classic. Go for it, Guy!
The series is a bizarre concoction of the Gothic, anachronistic Hogarthian tableaux, steam punk rock and roll costumes recalling the Alex Harvey Band, voodoo, and Dickensian social comment with more than a nod towards Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
It may forget, however that Conrad’s book wasn’t simply a criticism of Empire but a general metaphor for the darkness of the human heart in any age. In amongst this crazy confection it contrives to be right-on as the testimony of a transvestite (championed surprisingly by the take no prisoners man’s man James Delaney with a curious eye to his correctness) brings down the capitalist ambitions of the East India Company and the imperialist vengefulness of the British King whom we are left in no doubt that we should hate.
Tom Hardy is a charismatic rerun of Oliver Reed’s Bill Sikes from Oliver – the unfeasibly tough guy with the velvet diction. One final and interesting observation –for a series which evokes Heart of Darkness, it seemed to me notably lacking in the emotional engagement of the audience. Visually arresting but little real heart?
Index of Influence:
Joseph Conrad – ‘Heart of Darkness’
Charles Dickens – ‘Oliver Twist’
William Hogarth – ‘A Harlot’s Progress’ and ‘Gin Lane’
Guy Walker is a retired French teacher whose main distinction was of once being the Housemaster of James Murphy. He reads widely and blogs poetry, opinion pieces, aphorisms and comic squibs at THE ROSEATE TERN He also runs the arts and politics closed group, Salon de Southsea on Facebook inside whose portals all are welcome.