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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Robbie Coltrane, Bel Powley, Amanda Hale, Lucy Cohu and Sharon Small
Acorn Media UK
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 01 February 2010

Young Carrie’s mother has been murdered and she may have seen the killer. From the moment she discovers her mother’s body, her need to uncover the truth becomes an obsession, bringing her closer to the detective in charge. But what happens when those you trust have the most to hide - and may be those from whom you have the most to fear? It’s a knife edge thriller of revenge, redemption and rough justice; a telling tale of murder seen through the eyes of a child; and Hain, the detective in charge of the investigation - a man who always seems to be on the wrong side of the evidence...

Murderland is a three-part drama series that was originally broadcast between 19 October and 02 November 2009 on ITV. The events are told over three 45-minute episodes.

The main narrative follows a woman's nightmares of an event that happened 15 years previously. Unable to move on with her life, Carol (who was known as Carrie when she was younger) goes back to the scene of her mother's murder in order to discover who killed her and why.

The first episode revisits the events of the murder from Carrie's viewpoint; the second sees the mystery from Hain's point of view, and the final episode is Carol's (the grown up Carrie) search to uncover the truth.

I found the majority of the second episode to be rather pointless. There were way too many scenes repeated. While this would have been fine if we'd learned something new, more often than not there's nothing of real interest. In fact, and this could be because the production is dumbing down to appeal to even the most simplest of viewer, the majority of the "twists" can easily be worked out from the first episode.

Also Hain's constant lying just doesn't add up in places. He tells Carol that he's kept the truth from her and that she wouldn't want to know everything. But then when he's finished telling her all he knows there's nothing that shocking. And it's not as though he's keeping anything back from her either. Now, if he was protecting her because he knew about the major twist at the end (which he doesn't) then that would make more sense. As it stands, however, sloppy writing seems to be the main problem.

It probably doesn't help that the synopsis on the back of the DVD case (reproduced in part as the synopsis at the top of this review) hints heavily that Hain may be deeper into the mystery than he's letting on. In fact knowing this results in the viewer being able to easily guess the majority of the plot twists well before they are revealed.

Not only that but, by a process of simple elimination, it's fairly easy to work out who the killer is - or at least have a good stab at it (no pun intended).

Extras include Murderland - The Cast Files (text based); Cast Filmographies (text based); and a Picture Gallery. With the lack of any memory heavy extras, I'm still at a loss as to why this was released over two DVDs.

While it might be a little predictable, and the repeating of so many scenes seems a little pointless, this is still an entertaining series.


Darren Rea

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