Without You (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus joins Anna Friel as she looks for the truth about her dead husband...
Ellie (Anna Friel) and Greg (Marc Warren) are happily married and trying for baby and when Greg is found dead after a fatal car accident, Ellie is devastated. To make matters worse, Greg has a mystery passenger with him. A blonde woman he seemingly has had no previous connections with. Struggling to cope with her loss and with doubts about her husbands possible affair, Ellie begins to delve deeper into her husband's life to find the truth.
Split into three episodes, Without You begins as a controlled and realistic look at the sadness in a woman's life after her husband dies. I've been a big fan of Anna Friel for years and her work here is as good as ever, depicting a woman set adrift from her life and dealing with issues that she may never know the truth about.
The nagging questions, like who is the woman in the car, was her husband having an affair and the lingering doubt undermining her relationship with her husband, are all well handled and quite honest in their depiction but Without You is an ITV primetime drama so by about midway through the first episode the mourning is overpowered by the mystery and Without You loses its grip a little bit.
Elements like the husband of the woman in the car feels so heavy handed that they immediately signify that we're being thrown a curveball that will never play out like it seems. His reoccuring ominous pressence makes for quite a shoehorned in bit of tension and this carries on through the more forced elements of the story. Ellie's "just trying to help" friends begin to grate from the second installment onwards. The stuff where Ellie starts helping out at the mystery dead woman's office to find more clues stretches the believable nature of the story into more typical TV thriller territory than it needed and to be honest this three part miniseries felt as if it might have benefited from losing an instalment and keeping the focus more realistic, especially by the time we come to the cliche ITV drama ending that was as typical as they come.
Without You is full of strong colours, good skin tones but a relatively dark tone to the image with lots of browns and dark greens and plenty of shadows and realistic lighting. To help the mood of the show most of the locations are overcast and drab like a typical British day and the well lit interior scenes are warm and homely for the most part. The image is a little hazy from time to time and feels very much like a standard definition presentation of a TV show throughout and while there's nothing about the transfer to get excited about, it gets the job done.
The stereo track, like most TV shows is made up of both dialogue and score at their simplest. The score is a delicate piano based piece most of the time and its very much in keeping with the bleak nature of the story's subject matter. There's also a more pacey dramatic bit of score when the mystery thickens but it's not all that punchy, it just adds a slightly different flavour when Ellie's quest escalates.
There's the odd bit of ambience with exterior rainy days and traffic but this really is a straight forward track with nothing out of the ordinary really.
The only extra here is the making of (13:00) which has the director, writers, producers and of course the cast talking about the changes from the novel, the characters and how the minseries was made.
Without You started strong, showcasing another great Anna Friel performance, but soon switched its intentions to being yet another ITV drama that's about finding the truth with a tepid reveal at the end. The disc is quite typical in video and audio departments and only has a short making of on the extras, so if you missed it on TV but liked the look of it, it might be worth the rental.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 16th January 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Stereo 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tim Fywell
Cast: Anna Friel, Marc Warren, Barnaby Kay
Genre: Drama and Mystery
Length: 139 minutes
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