French police-drama The Disappearance (or Disparue)is an 8-part mini-series currently airing on BBC4. The story follows a the search for a 17 year old girl who is declared missing in Lyon following a music festival, focusing on her family and the police searching for her The Disappearance is well written and highly recommendable.
Franco-Swedish director Charlotte Brandström takes charge of The Disappearance and has worked on big series’ including Wallander, Grey’s Anatomy and Arrow, clearly displaying her credentials to produce a good series again. In short: she has. The visual style of The Disappearance is pleasing and Lyon is shown in many different lights, at times seeming beautiful, a scene or two later a dark, seedy atmosphere is expertly created.
The plot’s twists and turns are revealed in fits and starts, often when least expected. As their daughters absence drags on the Morel family find out more and more about her and while some of the revelations are far from pleasant, all of them are surprising. The writer, Natalie Alquier, has to be credited for the addiction-forming plot devices and the performances, almost without exception, also keep the viewer intrigued and help build the atmosphere The Disappearance undoubtedly creates.
Great writing, good performances and compelling twists…
What makes The Disappearance interesting as a series is some of the questions its plot takes on- one example of this is the importance of privacy for 17 year old Léa. Her parents Julien and Florence, in the wake of her disappearance, worry not only about her, but about what they may have done wrong in the lead up to the event. As they discover uncomfortable truths about their daughter and secrets she had hidden from them, they learn more about their daughter and become more fearful in regard to her absence.
Bertrand Molina, a detective newly transferred from Paris, expected a quieter time in Lyon. Léa’s disappearance and the simultaneous and unexpected arrival of his own daughter mean he’s plunged into a frantic hunt and emotional turmoil. Molina is played by François-Xavier Demaison (Nicholas on Holiday,) who takes on the challenging role well.
Great writing, good performances and compelling twists -as well as an appealing visual style- come together to make The Disappearance immensely recommendable. Look out for it on BBC iPlayer.
By George Storr
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