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Preview Image for Prime Suspect 4: The Lost Child (UK)
Prime Suspect 4: The Lost Child (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000050554
Added by: Chris Cox
Added on: 21/6/2003 01:31
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    Review of Prime Suspect 4: The Lost Child

    7 / 10


    British television has a proud history of delivering high quality serious Police drama - both in series form like the critically acclaimed (and simply brilliant) Between the Lines and in mini-series form like Cracker and Prime Suspect. The latter two ITV produced shows have recently been released on DVD, with each of the seven and ten respective episodes available as single discs or box sets. Each box set contains the same discs as the individual releases, repackaged in a fold-out slipcase. The discs themselves are identical.

    After the critical acclaim lauded upon the first three Prime Suspect series, made in 1991, 1992 and 1993, the series made a slight format change for the fourth series, broadcast in 1995. Instead of one story spanning three and a half hours, the fourth series has three feature length episodes (running for one hour and forty two minutes each), with each episode featuring a different storyline.

    Helen Mirren as returns as Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jane Tennison for a fourth time to investigate the case of an abducted child, which leads them to a convicted sex offender who appears to be praying on a vulnerable mother with two young children.


    The video is presented in the 4:3 full-frame as broadcast on British television long before the introduction of 16:9 television sets. The image is free from dirt, but a little grainy, but again is a big improvement on the three previous series.

    Prime Suspect always has been a series made with movie production values, and this fourth series is, like its predecessor, is superbly filmed. The hard edge of the visuals has however been toned down considerably, resulting in a fifteen certificate instead of the eighteen certificate that the predecessors received. This results in visuals that have far less impact, as the series concentrates on the investigation instead.


    The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, which is shame because a full 5.1 channel remix would have given the soundtrack the bite to match the visuals - something that would have increased the impact of the series even further.

    As it stands, the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is more than adequate and delivers solid vocals and a reasonable reproduction of the series` score and sound effects.


    Sadly, the disc is totally devoid of extras, featuring only a static menu offering "Play" and "Chapter Selection".


    The first three instalments of Prime Suspect were outstanding, and the standard has slipped slightly with the fourth, which is still very good, but not as riveting as its predecessors. This is mainly due to the shortened running time that gives less time to develop the story, and the toning down of the hard-hitting visuals.

    Once again however the superb cast deliver top-notch performances and despite not being up to the standard of the previous episodes, The Lost Child is still considerably better than most other Police dramas on television.

    There are no extras on the disc, and the reduced running time makes the disc less value for money that the previous three - perhaps putting series four out as a two-disc set for twenty pounds would have been a better idea.

    However, it is still recommended.

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