At the outset, Marian, Again seems to be starting in as a thriller about a missing woman along the lines of films like The Vanishing (1988) and Waking the Dead (2000). It starts with deceptive ordinariness and comes to slowly absorb one. Things take a turn for the decidedly perverse when Owen Teale is called around by Stephen Tompkinson and we then see him straying into teenage daughter Katie Rosss room and stealing her cellphone number. From this point Marian, Again is propelled into a dark thriller about the two mens obsessions. Both mens obsessions are made to keep mirroring one another Stephen Tompkinson is obsessed with his ex-girlfriend/Owen Teales wife and Teale with Tompkinsons daughter, with both men seen to be lying to their wives and becoming quite stalkerish in furtherance of their obsessions. The fact that the objects of the others obsession is right under the others nose is played with a constant irony. There is one perfect image where we see Stephen Tompkinson on the street outside watching Owen Teale at the window using his cellphone, not realising that it is to his own daughter that Teale is texting. In another darkly ironic scene, Kelly Harrison keeps trying to call Stephen Tompkinson for help but is unable to find her voice once she picks the phone up and he keeps thinking that it is his daughters stalker calling and responds angrily.
Director David Drury throws up a number of good shocks like the opening of the second part where we see Kelly Harrison tied to a chair with a stainless steel muzzle over her head. The mini-series length does draw the story out one suspects that Marian, Again might have worked much more tightly if it had been made as a feature film but as it is the show has a considerable grip and David Drury works it all to a well-sustained climax.
On a level of subtext, the mini-series is like a large warning sign for teenage girls about Stranger Danger. The story gives us not just one girl Katie Ross as Stephen Tompkinsons daughter but also Kelly Harrison during the flashback scenes who have their trust manipulated and abused by a predatory stranger. The script goes through a gamut of issues of parental concern for teenage girls being out late at night, getting into cars with strangers, meeting anonymous people from cellphone calls, allowing people to have ones number, placing too much trust in those that use sweet words.
What makes Marian, Again work is the highly credible performances from all the cast. Stephen Tompkinson is suitably gormless in the central role, while those cast as his family play with a completely convincing naturalism. Owen Teale gives a performance of dangerous meanness. Perhaps one of the most extraordinary performances is the dual two that come from Kelly Harrison in the title role. When you contrast the bubbly carefree teenager that we see in the flashbacks with the mousy, frightened Suzie that we see in the present, the chameleon shift that she undergoes seems to be one where she has almost entirely assumed a new personality, body and even put on fifteen years.
Marian, Again makes claim to be based on a true story, although it is not clear which one that the opening titles are referring to. There have been several cases of similar imprisonment. The production companys publicity department have failed to respond to my queries asking about this.
Full mini-series available online: Part 1 here:-
Part 2 here:-