Platform Entertainment (studio)
720min approx (length)
28 August 2017 (released)
12 September 2017
No expenses spared in this fourth and final instalment of the hugely successful pirate saga, and no lives either! As the conflicts between Captain Flint’s crew and Wood Rogers attempts to restore Nassau causes ever more bloodshed, all’s not well between Flint and buddy Long John Silver either… and it’s not just the Urca gold that is to blame!
Of course, it’s would be unfair to reveal too much here for that would surely spoil the broth for anyone who can’t wait to sink their teeth into this riveting tale set during the golden age of piracy – so let’s just say that things are more complex than ever: the first episode kicks of with a spectacularly explosive start in the truest sense of the word and causes Long John Silver (Luke Arnold) to become temporarily separated from the crew. In fact, he is believed to have drowned - causing his lover Madi (Zethu Dlomo) serious heartbreak. Ok, we know that he couldn’t have been bumped off so early into the series (in fact, he is one of the characters who gets away alive) and sure enough, one episode later he returns. Meanwhile, New Providence Island and the West Indies have descended into one fierce battleground whilst Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) efforts to transform Nassau into a safe fortress initially get the support from his wife Eleonor Guthrie (Hannah New) who in turn finds herself influenced by Mrs. Hudson (Captain Flint’s real life wife Anna-Louise Plowman), a woman with her own agenda.
‘Own agenda’ is something that prevails throughout the entire series or so it would seem: dandy pirate Captain Jack Rackham aka Calico Jack (Toby Schmitz) and Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy) decide to strike a certain deal with Eleanor Guthrie’s grandfather who refuses, although her grandmother Mrs. Marion Guthrie (Harriet Walter) is much more open to suggestions… in fact, we are talking a woman whose penchant for drawing up truly cunning suggestions worthy of any seasoned buccaneer! Of course, it cannot be revealed here as to why Rackham and Max decide persist in pursuing Eleanor’s grandmother with a plan that will betray certain other pirates...
There is also a major betrayal from Billy Bones (Tom Hopper) whose dirty deeds jeopardize the actions of Flint and Silver, while Woodes Rogers creates his own undoing after approaching the Spanish fleet in Havana to help with his plans for a ‘clean’ Nassau. As always, mighty Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) is at the centre of it all but his plans to amass one gigantic fleet with the help of some freed West Indies slaves are scuppered by his increasing feud with Silver – the latter becoming seemingly unreasonable after his beloved tribal princess Mali finds herself kidnapped by Wooden’s crew. His single-minded vision to save Mali, which he can only achieve if he get his hands on Flint’s buried treasure, leads to a savage showdown on the shores of Skeleton Island not only involving Flint’s men and Silver’s crew but, shiver me timbers, Wooden’s army and Captain Rackham’s scallywags too, with both their vessels turning up just in time to join the fight! If the ensuing battle wouldn’t be so unbelievably bloody and brutal then this entire scenario could be almost comical!
The whole production looks as if every single facet had been researched down to the finest detail (that said, the pirates gnashers simply look to white and perfect here!) and the resulting blend of historic fact with Robert Louis Stevenson-inspired fiction comes over as effortless! The sets (blue-screen and real) look spectacular, as do the battles on the high seas. The acting is flawless and hell alone knows how many weeks of gruelling training the actors had to endure to be able to swing their cutlasses in a convincing looking way. Special effects too are simply superb and don’t shy away from depicting graphic violence: the keelhauling sequence of notorious pirate Blackbeard (Ray Stevenson) is not for the squeamish while feisty female pirate Anne Bonny (Clara Paget) has to endure one hell of a battering – and just about survives it! The final scene is particularly inspired (SPOILER ALERT coming up!), namely when Rackham and his lover Anne Bonny stick up their fingers to Nassau’s new anti-piracy policy and sail off with a new crew member called Mark Reid aboard… who is none other than female pirate Mary Reid in disguise! Yep, that black pirate flag just begs to be hoisted again! The rest, as they say, is history… Can’t you just see a spin-off series?
BLACK SAILS 4 is one hell of a ripping yarn and the tension and action won’t let up for even one second! As an added bonus both DVD and Blu-ray discs come with an array of swashbuckling Special Features!