26 October 2012 | Chase_Witherspoon
Dead or alive
Gripping thriller concerning a mother who disappears from the roadside after stopping to buy flowers en route to see her wheelchair bound grandfather (Woodward). Her two small children are left by the roadside, and themselves become missing persons when they set out to find their mother. Father (Oyelowo) leads the hunt for his missing family in the hope that some, if not all, will be found alive before it's too late.
There's a lot of detail as you'd imagine in such a long mini-series, but the forensic analysis and character development makes for compelling viewing, never laboured and certainly not time-bound. While the cast may be mostly unfamiliar, they each seem to be on the same page narratively, displaying a unique angle from which to elaborate on their perspective of the mystery. Apart from Woodward (whose character is largely extraneous to the plot), only Patrick Malahide, Bernard Hill and Pene Wilton were recognisable, although Sarah Smart leaves an impression as the concerned but somewhat vulnerable nanny with whom Oyelowo becomes involved in a complex, but at times suspicious arrangement.
"Five Days" documents each day in the increasingly desperate hunt for the missing trio, a reflection of the kind of urban mystery that happens from time-to-time in real life. Like most British police shows, there's a highly procedural and forensic method of storytelling with which you'll either be comfortable, or find irritating if you're used to the more exaggerated spectacle of American cop shows. Tense, addictive and highly recommended.