Creator: Natalie Alquier
Cast: Françiose-Xavier Demaison, Pierre-Françiose Martin-Laval, Alex Poisson, Alice Pol
Running Time: 400 minutes
Intense psychological dramas have almost been overshadowed by big budget fantasy TV shows of late. Game of Thrones springs to mind, as does Once Upon a Time and period fantasies such as Penny Dreadful. However, this does not mean the day of the psychological drama is gone. The French have released an 8 part series called Disparue (The Disappearance) and it will most definitely put you on the edge of your seat without the need for guns, monsters or a 45 minute long intro.
The general premise is simple. A teenage girl attends a festival and does not return, prompting her parents to call the police. However, much like the beloved British drama Broadchurch the investigation reveals skeletons in closets, deep buried secrets and a cacophony of confessions. Twists and turns are plentiful in a series that will always keep you second guessing. As each individual comes under inspection the story takes a fresh twist and more juicy details of the girls disappearance become apparent. It is almost like a visual present that has been wrapped a dozen times. You take away each layer to reveal something new until you get to the satisfactorily pleasing reward at the end.
The Disappearance focuses solely on the aftermath of the incident. It investigates the intricacies of family life as well as the nuances of friendships and relationships as they all come under the scrutiny of not only the police, but family and friends as well. Lies and deciet become apparent as the tangled web of interpersonal relationships is unwoven in a bid to decipher what happened to the missing girl.
The Disappearance is one of those series that gets under your skin. The characters are so well developed, so 4 dimensional that you cannot help but get involved in their story lines. Just when you think you have sussed where the story is headed another seemingly inconsequential character springs up and takes you off somewhere completely different and it is this unpredictability that keeps the audience hooked and keeps them involved in the characters.
What is so pleasing with The Disappearance is that it almost becomes familiar. It has it’s own definite style and atmosphere, much like Game of Thrones has its own. The colour palet, the score and the atmosphere all add to this sense of self that the series has. It’s own identity that it develops and utilises that to enrapture the audience.
The performances are all strong, with those of the girls parents being particularly fraught with raw and brutal emotion. Don’t expect an easy ride from The Disappearance, some of the scenes are harrowing and stay with you long after the credits have rolled, but that is the beauty of this series. The performances, the production, the cinematography all mesh together to create something that is devilishly enthralling.
If you are a fan of series such as the aforementioned Broadchurch, or the more recent Anna Friel series Marcella than this will be right up your alley. Dark, deep and dangerously addictive, The Disappearance will not disappoint.
THE DISAPPEARANCE is released on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 4th July by Nordic Noir & Beyond.