By Ben Thompson
The four-part BBC drama Dark Money followed a family in turmoil, after their son Isaac is sexually abused by a Hollywood film producer. The series delves into the aftermath, following the parents as they deal with the legal complications, media intrusions and their dysfunctional family unit.
Babou Ceesay and Jill Halfpenny star as the parents, Manny and Sam, and spend a good portion of the shows’ duration agonizing over how to help their son. While many viewers may dislike the parents for the choices they make, their performances are unquestionably raw and human.
The stand-out performance of the series comes from Max Fincham, who plays Isaac – the boy at the centre of the abuse scandal. Fincham, despite being 14-years-old, displays a mature understanding of the topic through his performance that would make anybody feel unnerved. I can’t comprehend how this young actor was able to play a character placed in such circumstances, but he will no doubt have a great career ahead of him.
The only criticism of the series, it’s that four episodes isn’t enough time to dedicate to this story. It’s almost a British tradition to produce series with few episodes, but this one could have benefited from a additional four episodes. I’ll be holding out hope that a second series will follow, and continue the story.
While Dark Money is a recommended watch, it’s not going to be for everybody. The atmosphere is eerie, creepy and often depressing, with the characters spending a lot of time arguing or wallowing in regret. But, if you can stomach the dark tones, I believe you should watch this series.
We are becoming increasingly aware of instances of men in power taking advantage of women in Hollywood, but fewer people know about the child actors who have also suffered at the hands of abusers. This series could be the first step in learning more about the dark side of glitz and glamour.