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The Missing (Blu-ray)

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    mandymanslaughter
    Junior Member

  • Missing, The



    Released by: Starz/Anchor Bay
    Released on: April 14, 2015
    Director: Tom Shankland
    Cast: James Nesbitt, Frances O'Connor, Tchéky Karyo, Jason Flemyng, í‰milie Dequenne, Saí¯d Taghmaoui
    Year: 2014
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    The Missing is a 8 episode TV mini-series that aired on Starz, and its Blu-ray release from Anchor Bay gives the rest of us a chance to see what we missed. Director Tom Shankland and writers Jack and Harry Williams deliver an enthralling thriller that truly is worth dedicating a weekend to binge watch.

    The series is centered on child abduction, one of the scariest concepts any parent would ever have to face. With films such as the Taken series with Liam Neeson and The Captive coming out in recent years, the idea has been written a few times with similar results. However, The Missing manages to peak interest and keep it at a suspended high throughout the episodes. Tony (James Nesbitt) and Emily Hughes (Frances O'Connor) are a married couple from England on holiday in France with their son, Oliver. And although Tony can't completely abandon work, the three manage to make the best of their trip, even when their car breaks down in a small town of Chí¢lon du Bois. Yet even small towns have large secrets, and the biggest one of all becomes the disappearance of Oliver when Tony loses him in a crowd of football (soccer, for us Americans) fans. Tony and Emily find themselves almost as lost with language and trust barriers while they work with the police to find their son.

    The series does a great job of executing the non-linear timeline in which the story unfolds. Each episode has multiple cuts between present day and 8 years prior at the time of the abduction, and the distinct differences between the two are effective and interesting. We see just how the event has shaped both Tony and Emily moving forward, in addition to all of those who became directly involved in the case in one way or another. While most of the jumps come with a caption to orientate the audience, we can see in the few instances that they lack that they aren't entirely necessary. Each character has a particular look and behaviors for the time periods.

    In the present day, we see Tony returning to Chí¢lon du Bois to resume the previously fruitless search for their son, which he convinces the now retired police Inspector Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) to assist him in. The two become a team and develop a different relationship than they had at the beginning of the investigation, and Karyo does a fantastic job playing the Inspector with nuance and charisma. The actors playing the Hughes are also notably fabulous in their roles, depicting the grieving and determined couple with finesse (garnering several award nominations for their roles).

    Each episode does a nice job of leaving just enough of a cliffhanger to keep you on the couch for the next, without relying on cheap momentary thrills that are resolved in the first thirty seconds. The hour-long episodes are jam-packed with suspense, morsels of information, and character development. While some of the plot points are a bit obvious, for the most part the writers do a nice job of concealing just enough from the audience to keep you too in the frenzied frame of mind of the characters. Seeing as this is just a limited, complete mini-series, there is a conclusion in the last episode that is mostly satisfying and appropriate, while still leaving a small window for a possible revisiting of the story. All in all, it plays out like a well-written, 8-hour film that haunts the back of your mind for days after watching.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Missing is presented in a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer, aspect ratio 1.78:1. For the most part, the video quality is sufficient. Colors are mostly grays and blue, particularly in the present day sequences and post-abduction past, which add to the somber, serious atmosphere of the film. Skin tones are well represented and close-ups reveal plenty of fine detail. However there are some issues that are detrimental to the quality of the presentation. The blacks are a bit paler than they should be, and some backgrounds appear almost striped with banding. Edges are jagged at times, with noticeable instances with signs and buildings. Overall, the HD transfer works and supports the riveting story without taking away too much, but is in no way exceptional.

    Similar things can be said for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack: sufficient but not impressive. There are some chances for dynamics here, with gunshots, loud crowds, and whispered secrets; yet all are pretty lifeless and monotone. Most of the audio sits on the front channels with minor background noises sprinkling the back ones. The dialogue governs the plot, and for the most part it is clear and understandable. There are some accents that are a little hard to catch every word on the untrained ear, and some foreign language exchanges that are not subtitled. Every so often the audio track and the picture would not match up; notable here is episode 5 that had a 10-minutes stretch of lips moving after words were spoken, making one feel like they were watching an old kung-fu movie. Fortunately it passes rather quickly in all other instances, and it wasn't during an especially tense moment.

    As far as extras go, there are three roughly 2-minute segments that appear to be what would have been on Starz for promotion in between other shows and are not worth bothering with:

    The Missing: Time Changes All—a focus on the duality of the timelines and the characters,
    The Missing: Transformation—basically the same discussion with some plot recapping, and
    The Missing: Behind the Scenes—again, the same discussion of plot and timelines.

    Bottom Line:

    The Missing is a captivating mini-series that takes one by surprise with its effective twists and turns. The storytelling is innovative and the acting superb. I really enjoyed the dual timelines weaving together to reveal the truth piece by piece, and the rendering of the psychological depths that an event like this affects for all involved. While the presentation isn't as super as the series itself, it diminishes absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of the episodes. Definitely worth checking out.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!















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