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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Disappearance - Complete Series" )

 

directed by Charlotte Brändström
France 2015

 

A French adaptation of the 2007 Spanish true crime miniseries DESPARACIDA, THE DISAPPEARANCE (or DISPARUE) relocates the setting to Lyon as charismatic high school superstar Léa Morel (Camille Razat) goes out with her brother Thomas (Maxime Taffanel) and cousin Chris (Zoé Marchal, LOLO) to a music festival for her seventeenth birthday and never returns. Long before the minimum amount of time passes before Léa can be considered a missing person, her mother Florence (Alix Poisson, 360) is frantic to the point of reproaching her husband Julien (Pierre-François Martin-Laval, THE GIRL ON THE BRIDGE), brother-in-law Jean (Laurent Bateau, POLISSE), and her best friend/Léa's godmother Sophie (Muriel Combeau of the French version DOC MARTIN) for their comparative calmness and rebuking son Thomas and niece Chris for effecting whatever happened to her daughter by not staying with her through the night and delivering her home by curfew. One Julien goes to the station and demands that the police take the case seriously, the ensuing investigation fails to turn up Léa's whereabouts but detectives Molina (François-Xavier Demaison, L'AUBERGE ROUGE) and Guerin (Alice Pol, A PERFECT PLAN) turn up plenty of suspects in her disappearance: her father will not account for an hour the night she disappeared, Thomas and his girlfriend (Mélanie Tran) are also lying about where they were part of that night, Léa had a fight with the racecar-driving boyfriend Romain (Léo Legrand) her parents knew noting of when she found Chris' earring in his car, Jean has also lied about his alibi for the night of the disappearance, waitress Elodie (Clémentine Allain) has reason to be jealous of her waiter boyfriend Nicolas' (Johan Libéreau, HIGH LANE) crush on the boss' daughter, and Chris is already making a play for Romain and inadvertently living up to her nickname "The Clone." The various secrets of the family and Léa's circle of friends repeatedly derail the investigation towards suspicions of prostitution, drugs, incest, statutory rape, and jealousy that threaten to tear the family apart. Florence is starting to lose it - consulting clairvoyants, neglecting youngest daughter Zoé (Stella Trotonda) even as she acts out in more desperate ways and give the cold shoulder to Thomas - while Julien realizes after so many leaked details to the press and being stonewalled by the investigating officers that he must carry out his own investigation even if it means bluffing the cops and interfering with their case.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to THE KILLING with a smaller cast of characters, if only because most thrillers as of late about missing or murdered people share a number of commonalities because of the methods of investigation and the impact the event most certainly has upon the victim's loved ones, the makers of THE DISAPPEARANCE are aware of this and play with viewer expectations for the likelihood of several likely solutions to the case anticipated from THE KILLING, BROADCHURCH, and their various foreign incarnations and ripoffs. The investigation scenes during the first half of the film are less interesting than the family drama scenes, partially because Demaison's Molina is not a particularly compelling detective and Pol's Guerin almost a comic relief nonentity for the first four episodes compared to Martin-Laval's driven father who actually manages to arrive at developments independently of the police and sometimes before them out of sheer obsessiveness (Poisson is also excellent in the admittedly showier part going through various stages of grief unrestrained). Once the investigation really takes off past the halfway mark, the two detectives ratchet up their intensity with Guerin getting equal turns at playing "good cop" and "bad cop", as well as an undercurrent of sympathy and understanding becoming evident in the tense relationship between Molina and Julien (without drawing blatant parallels between Julien's relationship with his daughter living a double life and Molina's with his own estranged daughter). The fresh twists work, and the climax is movingly tragic.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 22 April 2015 - 13 May 2015 (French TV)

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DVD Review: Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 6:39:12 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ~4.93 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
� Disc One:
� Episodes (with 'Play All' option; 195:12):
� - One (16:9; 51:54)
� - Two (16:9; 43:44)
� - Three (16:9; 51:56)
� - Four (16:9; 48:08)
� Disc Two:
� Episodes (with 'Play All' option; 204:00):
� - Five (16:9; 55:14)
� - Six (16:9; 47:48)
� - Seven (16:9; 50:54)
� - Eight (16:9; 50:04)

DVD Release Date: 4 July 4th, 2016
Amaray

Chapters 42

 

 

 

Comments

The eight anamorphic widescreen episodes of this French series are split between two dual-layer discs, with the image looking a tad soft overall but not enough to detract from the drama. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo only (I'm not sure if this is the original audio configuration), but dialogue is always crisply rendered along with some directional sound effects and the recurring use of a handful of thematic source music sometimes mixed low but still discernable. The English subtitles are optional but there is no option to turn them on or off. The series is also available on Blu-ray from Arrow.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

 



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