03rd Jul2014

‘Amber: The Complete Series’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Lauryn Canny, Eva Birthistle, David Murray, Levi O’Sullivan, Justine Mitchell, David Herlihy, Declan Conlon, Emily Nagle, Stella McCusker, Shauna Griffith | Created by Rob Crawley, Paul Duane


If there is one type of television show we’ve got a lot of right now it’s the drama. While mostly concentrating on murder and politics there are some though that look to hit a much more emotional nerve by using the subject of children. Amber is one of the latest to use children as the subject using the theme of abduction.

When fourteen year old Amber Bailey disappears her family are left in turmoil.  As they search for her at her friends they find she lied about visiting there and with no sign of her return it’s left to the police and pleas to the public for any news on where she could be.  As the days go by though things start getting darker with strangers looking to make money off the families anguish and a secret life revealing a different side to their daughter, Amber’s parents are left wondering if she’s dead, abducted or just run away from an unhappy home.

Amber (Lauryn Canny) is a character full of mystery not only for her family, but also for the audience.  As more and more is revealed about her and her whereabouts on that day we aren’t really given that much to go on.  If anything she is just a normal teenage girl doing what teenagers normally do but when that teenager never returns home there has to be more to it.  While her character hides in the shadows of memory the show chooses to focus on the family more, with mother Sarah (Eva Birthistle) and Ben (David Murray) ripping their own lives apart as they search for their daughter.  The story is well written and believable, even when Ben goes to extremes to try and find Amber there feels to be a reality in his actions, whatever the outcomes may be.

Although there are only four episodes to Amber this structure is well used.  We are provided with events early in the story that make little sense, only to make a reappearance in a later episode with an explanation as to what they meant.  This strengthens the story for the audience and stops them from getting bored as the show moves into the second half where not only the investigation slows down but the plot itself.  It feels at times though that almost every abduction trope is used in Amber but at least it feels that this is part of an investigation looking for a girl that may be dead, or may not want to be found at all, but all avenues must be visited.

In mentioning that the last episode of Amber is annoying it’s hard to not spoil it and actual say why I as well as others found it to be this way.  After watching I was confused as to whether that was the end or not, I even wondered if I had a disc missing from the set.  The answer to this was no, so I have to take Amber as it is, something that feels unfinished.  All I will say about this fact though is sometimes in life we don’t get the answers we want, and no matter how disturbing or annoying that maybe it’s a brave move by show creators Rob Crawley and Paul Duane to leave it as it is.

Amber is a well-made mystery that may not provide the answers we want but still provides a well-structured story examining how lives are torn apart by the disappearance of a child.  For a subject that is so depressing it’s interesting that for the most part there is good in many of the characters and the dark is not focused on, this is something that keeps you watching in the hope that good will come out at the end.  We may not get all the answers we want about Amber, but in the end maybe the message is that sometimes the answers just aren’t there to be found? Thought provoking stuff to say the least.

Amber: The Complete Series is available on DVD now from Arrow Films.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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