by Ruben R. Rosario
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Out was a mini series that was broadcasted in 1978 in the UK and somehow never made it over here in the U.S. until 2012. The show follows Frank Ross (Tom Bell), a criminal that has just finished an eight year stint from prison. Ross comes back to a dilapidated home, a mentally unstable wife and a son that is becoming a juvenile delinquent. While those things are very important to him, all that’s on his mind is getting the person responsible for putting him in the pen. He’ll have to get through pimps, thugs and crooked cops to find out who sold him out in the midst of a big time bank heist. The show utilizes its six episodes to tell a compelling crime drama, filled with plenty of intrigue and attitude.
The very opening of the first episode does a wonderful job at getting the audience in the mind of Frank Ross. We see a POV shot with people going past him in fast motion being intercut with a close-up shot of his face looking disgruntled. With this in tow, we get to understand the time Frank has lost being disconnected from society for so long and comprehend the need for retribution. There’s also a great use of flashback, through shooting the scenes with high grain and tinted in a sepia color, that give it a sense of nostalgia as they go back and forth through past and present. Tom Bell plays Ross really well and balances Frank from being smooth and suave when need be to being completely cold hearted and menacing. The rest of the supporting cast does a great job as well, including Brian Cox that plays Tony McGrath, a crime lord with a huge distaste for Ross.
The series is 6 episodes, 50 minutes a piece, spread out on 2 DVD’s from Acorn Media. While the show is old by this point, the video shows plenty of artifacts and plenty of times where overexposed bits of film, made by the tail ends of the film roll, are present in the image. While this would bother me in other instances, these elements made Out made it feel special. It makes the show much more gritty, as well as organic when they show up from time to time. The series was a big hit in the UK when it aired and there was a chance for a sequel, but Tom Bell turned the notion down to work on other things. While its taken a long time to come to these shores, Out has been worth the wait and deserved of your time. As a crime drama, it delivers in each and every episode and gives us a protagonist that is understandable, as well as unforgettable. Highly Recommended!
Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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