Review – Fortitude S1
Fortitude is considered one of the safest towns on earth. Or was… until now.
A perfectly preserved mammoth corpse is discovered by a pair of unwitting friends and dragged to a secret warehouse. Following their discovery, they seek the advice of a professor in the field. When he shows interest in the mammoth, the two men decide they will sell it to the research facility, but the professor informs them that by rights, the mammoth already belongs to it. Confrontation unfolds and despite everyone’s best efforts, it’s not long before the whole of town hears the news about the mammoth. However, later that day, the professor’s body is found mutilated in his home. There are immediately many under suspicion of murdering him, but is there more than meets the eye when it comes to the apparent violent crime that has taken place?
Fortitude came to us after months of hype about it. In every ad-break, there was a preview for the series and newspapers were falling over themselves trying to get interviews with various members of the all-star cast and flaunting the fact that Sky had spent close to £30 million on what was dubbed “TV’s most expensive experiment”. The question is: was it worth the build-up it was given?
In my personal opinion, I thought it was a good, solid program, however, I don’t believe it lived up to the hype surrounding it.
Performances all round were excellent, with the likes of Richard Dormer and Stanley Tucci delivering absolute masterclasses in acting. Dormer as Sheriff Dan Anderssen was brilliant. Up to the discovery of the professor’s body, Anderssen had never really had to lift a finger, given the fact that Fortitude was the safest town on earth. However, it is clear that the sheriff has had his own personal problems and that he’s been caught up in a few tricky situations at some point – something that eventually links into the story and is portrayed very well throughout.
Tucci also shines as DCI Eugene Morton, the abrasive detective sent in from Scotland Yard to oversee the investigation into the professor’s death. He is very good at rubbing Anderssen up the wrong way and antagonising the residents of Fortitude. Whenever both he and Dormer are on-screen together, scenes are often very intense – sometimes the show’s most dramatic – and can often reach a rather comical climax.
Both are backed up by the likes of Christopher Eccelston, Sofie Grabøl and Michael Gambon in what certainly is an A-list drama with a few more familiar British faces drifting in and out each week as well.
The story, as I’ve already said is good – the whole mystery surrounding the professor’s death keeps you hooked right from the off. However, for a couple of episodes, the story does seem to get a bit repetitive as (SPOILER ALERT) there is more than the one death which Anderssen and Morton believe to be linked to that of the professor’s. For this reason, I don’t think, for me, Fortitude lived up to the hype that had built up prior to its showcasing.
But, if the story doesn’t quite float your boat, there is the amazing scenery and panoramic views of the Icelandic landscape where it was filmed to catch your eye. All I can say is it must have been a beautiful place to work.
Overall, give Fortitude a watch – there are certainly worse things on TV. Don’t get me wrong, 90% of the time, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from it, but there is the odd occasion where you feel as though specific scenes are just unnecessary bulk, and that’s why it so very narrowly missed meeting my expectations.