The newest show arriving on Amazon promises to be a gripping thriller as actors Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks bring to life the British drama Tin Star. With elements of corporate thriller and small-town crime drama running through it, which certainly bring to mind some real life examples, it's only fair to wonder if Tin Star is based on a true story. While there are no indications that Tin Star is in fact based on any actual event, what is clear is that there's enough, thematically, going on right underneath the surface of this show that indicates it's drawing on some very real-world situations.
On the show, Roth plays English policeman Jim Worth, a recent English import to the sleepy Canadian industrial town of Little Big Bear who is looking to get away from the hectic life he left behind and find an easier pace of living. Things do not go according to plan as Worth is drawn deep into a potential conspiracy plot when bodies start turning up all over town. There's reason to suspect that the higher-ups at the oil company that acts as a boon for Little Big Bear might be involved and as Jim Worth digs deeper into what is happening, he and his family become unwitting targets.
There are of course inspirations in the kind of story being told here from other films like the drama focused on the socio-economic fallout a small community faces when faced with the decision to open up their land for fracking in Promised Land, and even small town crime thrillers like Fargo, American Crime, and even Breaking Bad. Add to this a flourish of Twin Peaks darkness thanks to the setting as well as the ways in which Tin Star sets up its protagonist to uncover a major plot sparked by a smaller event and you've got a recipe for success.
Tin Star certainly seems poised to tackle themes around the intersection between corporate greed and criminal enterprises in ways that may feel like they hit close to home, too. It becomes clear as Jim continues to investigate the various murders cropping up, questioning local corporate oil mouthpiece Elizabeth Bradshaw (Hendricks), and continuing to find along the way secret rings around prostitution, gambling, and the employment of migrant workers for various dangerous enterprises, Jim is going to end up getting in over his head — an event that is strongly alluded to at the end of the Tin Star trailer when his daughter shouts to him that someone is going to shoot him.
Perhaps the big draw to Tin Star will not only be the interest in how it adapts real-world issues around shady corporate practices as they relate to criminal activity, but also because of the way it seeks to peel back the veneer of small town life. As touched on in the aforementioned American Crime, Breaking Bad, and Twin Peaks, Jim appears to be the audience's way into yet another small community that is indulging in some serious vices and criminal activity in order to get by. Again, that fascination with small town or rural living feels like its inspired by true events if only because audiences may relate to living in a location like Little Big Bear; there's always more than meets the eye in these instances.
So, while Tin Star may not actually be based on a true story, there's no doubt it shares DNA, narratively speaking, with some of our favorite crime dramas airing on TV today. Add to this the fact that it has Roth and Hendricks at the top of its bill and there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be tuning in to watch ASAP.