Thursday, November 22, 2007

Five Days


Five Days (miniseries). Joint production of HBO and the BBC. While not available on DVD (yet), it is still available on HBO on demand.

The Plot: A mother and her two children disappear in the middle of the day. A car abandoned for no reason, with bag and cell phone left behind. What happened? Where did they go? Is it a kidnapping, or did she run away?

The Good: Everything.

As I've said in the past, I love TV. And I love what a good miniseries can do. Five Days follows five different days in the investigation of the missing woman and her two small children; day 1, day 2, ending at day 79. I love that; not only does it require the viewer to "fill in" some of what has gone on in the jumps between days, it acknowledges that not everything is worthy of highlighting, of being shown to the viewer. It also reflects that an investigation may have lags and then flare up again.

The strength of a well done, well plotted mini series is that there is a clear story, defined story arc: beginning, middle, end; the pacing is constant; and it doesn't drag things out (to satisfy a need for a certain number of episodes) or speed things up (ooh, only a movie is acceptable, TV series are not!)

Five Days looks at everyone involved in the investigation; the husband, the parents of the missing woman, the police, reporters, even eyewitnesses. Somehow, it manages to show the perspective of each; we both sympathize with the main detective who just wants to get his job done, as well as get irritated at his poor handling of the media. We see the anguish of the husband, yet also doubt him. It's always someone close to the victims, isn't it?

This is as much about the people affected by the investigation as it is about the investigation itself; often, we get character sketches. While the crime itself is resolved, not everything is wrapped up and tidy at the end of the series.

The husband is played by David Oyelowo; he was Danny on MI-5 aka Spooks (another made of awesome BBC series.) David was brilliant in that, and he is equally fab here.

While made with HBO, this is set in Britain, using British actors. I like crime shows; and it's always interesting to watch how other countries investigate crime and how their legal system works. Here, there is the additional intrigue of race in the UK; the husband, Matt, is black; his wife is white; and, in terms of prejudices, the wife's ex-husband is French.

Um, no, I won't tell you what happens! Catch it on-demand while you can; add it to your Netflix Queue.

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