Banged Up Abroad

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, Nat Geo Ad­ven­ture ‘‘ I thought that I was pretty spe­cial. Really I was just pretty stupid.’’ Th­ese are the first words spo­ken tonight by An­gela Carnegie, a real per­son who agreed to smug­gle heroin out of Thai­land, where pos­ses­sion of more than 20g of the stuff can mean the death penalty. Wel­come to Banged Up Abroad: Busted in Bangkok, in which, as usual, the former pris­oner tells the story while pro­fes­sion­als act out the im­plied ten­sion and drama. What I like about Banged Up is that the re-en­act­ments never feel hokey or cheap. The pro­duc­tion val­ues eas­ily ri­val those of ma­jor tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tions but with the added in­sight that all of this ac­tu­ally hap­pened to some­one we al­most get to know. Things be­gin in 2004, where the in­se­cure, over­weight An­gela has found love at last with boyfriend An­drew. When he walks out on her, she fig­ures the worst thing that ever could hap­pen to her has just hap­pened. So when a friend of­fers her a job as a drug mule, she bar­gains him up from $10,000 to $25,000. Amazed that he agrees, she ac­cepts. The scenes in Bangkok in which the ac­tress play­ing An­gela tries to get through cus­toms at Bangkok air­port, know­ing that she has two bricks of heroin in her bag, are as tense as any­thing in Break­ing Bad.

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