Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Missing

The BBC drama The Missing starring James Nesbitt and Frances O'Connor garners a DVD release on 26th December from RLJ Entertainment.

The show gained a huge following when it aired through October to December 2014 on BBC One, gripping the nation with its tale about the abduction of a young British boy when in France from his parents during an idyllic vacation.

Written by brothers, Harry and Jack Williams and directed by Tom Shankland, the series successfully told the dual narrative as we had two timelines of the initial abduction in 2006 along with the re-opening of the case in the present day. The 2006 storyline shows the beginning of the grip the abduction of Oliver Hughes will have on his father Tom (played superbly by Nesbitt) and the eventual breakdown of the marriage to Emily, with O'Connor playing the desperation and despair to perfection.

While the series is ultimately something to remember for its acting with uniformly brilliant performances across the board, the writing at times does let the show down and the eventual denouement is one of lacklustre and frustration.

This is indicative of series in general, it draws an audience in but then does not know how to credibly render and end the series by giving a narrative a convincing finale without becoming sentimental or hokum.  The sort of story in real life does not usually have a happy ending, but for the characters you wish only a sense of closure and not the sight of Nesbitt marauding through Eastern Europe in constant anguish in attempt to chase away his demons.

This is not to dispel from the overall quality of the production, the differing tones of filming between the light and breezy 2006 and the colder, more sombre present day cinematography as if the past is but a dream for Emily and Tony.

The acting is of a truly superior standard especially from a career-best Nesbitt who never resorts to histrionics in his performance but special praise is reserved for Tcheky Karyo as Julien Baptiste, the French detective of the original case who goes through the biggest metamorphosis physically in the series from a close to retiring detective to a man clearly shaken by all that has happened in the case, now with a limp and greyer in his hair colour the years have not been kind to him.  When Karyo speaks, he speaks wisdom and you hang on every word.

The Missing is one of those rare drama series that had you gripped from the start and but for the less than pleasing ending (when in real life cases there are few happy endings), this is a series that deserves awards come the awards season.

The Missing is out now on DVD from RLJ Entertainment

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