21st Dec2014

‘The Missing’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf


However depressing the nature of Nordic Noir is, you cannot argue that it has had a positive influence on the crime drama we see on television.  The Missing is a new series recently show on the BBC in the UK (and now heading to DVD and Blu-ray) and the influence of Nordic Noir can be seen heavily throughout it.  Chilling and eye-opening it manages to show that the British (and French) still have what it takes to make hard-hitting gritty dramas that get their hooks into their audience and refuse to let go.

The Missing follow the story of Tony (James Nesbitt), a man devastated by the abduction of his son Oliver (Oliver Hunt) he has spent his life since the boy went missing trying to find clues of what happened.  Using flashbacks and tying them up in the ongoing investigation in the present day, Tony keeps the wound of his loss alive not only for him but his ex-wife Emily (Frances O’Conner) and others too.

When you lose somebody the effect on your life can be devastating, but when it’s a child it hits even worse because that child is the parent’s life.  Tony is a man who arguably gives up on his life the day he loses Oliver, walking through life as a ghost and only showing signs of life when there is a chance to find his son.  This is understandable of course, but the effect of this is not only devastating for him and Oliver’s mother but the community of the town the boy went missing in, and the law enforcement who helped them.

There have been so many crime dramas on television that we almost know instinctively how the story will progress and where the conclusion is, this is why so many shows like The Missing have to have twists, to keep the audience interested and keep them engrossed in what they see.  With The Missing these twists are also used to make the show longer, and to some make it too long.  The main story could arguably be ended in four episodes, not the eight that we see, but I for one am glad the choice was made to play the long game.  The Missing hits home with the audience a lot harder because we see the can of worms that the criminal investigation opens, sometimes the revelations are truly jaw dropping.  The quality of writing keeps the show interesting and it never hits that dreaded lag effect for the audience where they tire and just want to get to the conclusion.

When it comes to the acting it is fair to put the spotlight on James Nesbitt and say that he is brilliant.  Tony Hughes is not a nice character, in many respects he is an idiot who works on instinct and is taken to truly dark places out of pure desperation and anger.  Even though we see this darkness in the performance that Nesbitt gives he still manages to make us feel pity for the man, to remind us that inside he is destroyed by what has happened to his son.  If Nesbitt won an award for his performance I would not be surprised.

Even though I highlight Nesbitt for his performance the rest of the cast cannot be ignored, especially Frances O’Connor as Tony’s wife, Tchéky Karyo as Julien Baptiste the main detective on the case and Jason Flemyng as the UK police liaison who works with the case and family.  As characters who play a major part in the story they put in good performances that fully pull you into the story and keep you engrossed.  The casting choices that were made in this show though were very well thought out, each playing their part to make the show the success that it has been.

Watching people’s reaction to The Missing it is fair to say that some weren’t happy with the ending that they were given, and of course I won’t be giving that away.  What I will say though is I fully understand the ending, and the actions of Tony as he is a completely destroyed man still looking for that hope, when the one thing that keeps him living is to find his son, what else do you expect him to do? No matter what evidence he has that man will always search for the answers, even if they no longer exists and that is what makes the ending work and the show one of the best crime dramas of the year.

***** 5/5

The Missing comes to DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on December 26th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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