Seven Types of Ambiguity

A missing child triggers the strongest new local drama so far this year.

If you’ve been waiting for a strong new local drama this year there is good news: it belatedly arrives next week in the form of Seven Types of Ambiguity.

The catalyst for this six part drama, based on Elliot Perlman’s novel, is the disappearance of a child in suburban Melbourne. But each episode shifts its lens to the perspective of a different player.

The opening chapter centres around the boy’s father, Brighton stockbroker Joe (Alex Dimitriades) who is in the middle of locking in a huge investor deal, together with his colleague Mitch (Anthony Hayes). But a simple school pick-up for his 7 year old Sam (Harrison Molloy) turns into every parent’s worst nightmare…. he is nowhere to be seen.

As Joe’s wife Anna (Leanna Walsman) arrives distraught, Detective Staszic (Sarah Pierse) begins to elicit clues to this mystery, which become even more obtuse when Sam is recovered -safely- by persons known to his parents.

Suddenly, this isn’t a straightforward race against time to recover a missing child, but a complex labyrinth as to why he was taken, and just whom is covering their tracks?

Along the way other key characters to take centrestage will be played by Hugo Weaving, Xavier Samuel, Andrea Demetriades, Anthony Hayes and Susie Porter (I don’t really want to reveal how….).

Dimitriades is brooding in this cool customer of a drama, trapped between a career-making deal and his family life unravelling before his eyes. As we have seen in recent outings such as The Principal, he is exemplary with this kind of material.

The beauty of Jacquelin Perske’s script in the hands of director Glendyn Ivin is the focus of entering the world through the eyes of a central viewpoint as opposed to over-egging the plot with too many characters.

The opening chapter sparingly introduces almost all of its central players, plus supporting roles by Nicholas Bell and Janet Andrewartha (there are also cameos by Andrew McFarlane an even Alyce Platt). But this is a “Joe” episode in much the same way as The Slap was structured -both being exec produced by Tony Ayres (joined here by Perske).

It was also great to see Sarah Pierse (Offspring, Old School) back in a key role, including one with some authority.

Ivin allows his cast to play with subtext without resorting to kitchen-sink histrionics -never has a single shot of a muffin represented such hollow concern….

Seven Types of Ambiguity doesn’t follow the desperate, lonely path James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor faced in The Missing choosing instead to play with shades of grey. In the hands of such a talented cast and crew I look forward to piecing this jigsaw puzzle together.

Seven Types of Ambiguity premieres 8:30pm Thursday April 13 on ABC with episodes available for iview binge.

11 Responses

  1. Saw episode one, which suffered from weak scripting and lame direction. the suspension of disbelief was compromised by scripting of police practice, and direction that included characters appearing and disappearing as if waiting out of shot to suddenly arrive and leave as required by the story line.

    Episode two (Alex) was much improved in the direction, in fact, it carried the language of the script and the language of the camera with much finer skill. Mr Weaving (not always well cast) was here just right, and working brilliantly, in fact, the entire second episode was head and shoulders above the first. I now look forward to the next installment.

  2. I just watched this first episode. Man it is earnest with a capital E. I was wondering when the obligatory adultery plot was going to kick in. It wouldn’t be an Australian TV series without some sort of adultery at its heart. Next I suppose we are going to discover that someone is taking, gasp, drugs. Then there will obviously need to be some sort of domestic violence and/or child abuse too. And don’t forget the gambling addiction – gotta have gambling addiction.

    On the plus side, I thought the mystery aspect was well done. I intend watching the rest of the series.

    Advice to Australian screenwriters – lighten up a little.

  3. OK, so I binge watched all the eps on ABC iView and not a lot made sense to me. First of all the blurb says “…the shifting perspective of seven characters…” There are 6 episodes showing the perspective of 6 different characters. The ‘ending’, if ep 6, Anna’s turn, was the final episode – then the ending makes even less sense. Wish I had not wasted my valuable monthly Gb on this.

      1. I’m so frustrated! I got all the way to the end of part six and I can’t understand Alex D’s final line! I’ve re-listened to close to 20 times and I cannot for the life of me understand what he says. After that whole exchange between Anna and Joe, missing the last line feels like… I can’t even think of an adequate analogy! Any idea what he said?

  4. I thought the first ep was alright until the last 5 minutes. A bit slow but I was prepared to let it build.

    Then it looks like someone has gotten to the end of the ep and realised that there wasn’t enough tension so they threw in a cheap bombshell at the last minute. Police don’t normally inform someone of a partner’s sexual infidelity unless they need to ask the partner about it. Even then, usual practice is to give the transgressor an opportunity to tell their partner first. It didn’t fit with Pierse’s portrayal of Detective Staszic either.

    This was simply a pretext to give Dimitriades’ character a reason to rush out and beat the photographer as cheap trick to ramp up the drama as some sort of cliff-hanger end to an otherwise pedestrian episode.

    I want to see more of Hugo Weaving so I’ll look in again on the second ep but any more lazy writing and I’ll be done with it.

  5. The trailer makes it look like a clone of The Slap – ie. lots of grumpy middle-class people in big houses (complete with brushed steel Smeg appliances) shouting at each other and generally suffering from the ennui of being a middle-class hipster. I hope to be proven wrong when it goes to air!

  6. Sounds good. There hasn’t been a decent local drama so far this year, so really looking forward to watching.
    With Alex Demitriades and Susie Porter featuring I will definitely be watching – two of my favourite Australian actors. They are always outstanding in every part they play.

Leave a Reply