Finally the much talked about Scandinavian drama the Bridge has been adapted for British audiences, no longer will those wanting a gripping crime drama have to squint hard at the screen, reading subtitles…except about half of it is in French…
I know what you must be wondering, why couldn’t they have done one between the UK and Ireland? Exactly! Imagine it, ‘The Irish Sea’ where a boat going from Holyhead to Dublin has a mysterious murder right in the middle of the two countries sea borders! Yeah…it doesn’t quite work the same and subtitles may still be required.
Anyway enough of poorly formed jokes; I haven’t watched the Bridge before so came to this series with a totally fresh outlook and view. Hence naturally I won’t be able to compare it to the original and why this one is almost certainly an inferior version, because they almost always are.
Spoilers will be contained from this point on. If you haven’t watched it and are wondering if it is worth your time, then I would say yes, it is only ten episodes after all.
I find that crime dramas are very easy to enjoy, because it is fairly uncomplicated to follow the storyline and all its twist. They also have that nice touch of guessing who the villain is (in this case the Truth Terrorist) as each candidate is eliminated from the process. I wouldn’t say that the reveal of the Truth Terrorist was shocking, however his change in actual target was a nice little twist (Karl’s son Adam and Karl himself).
It was nice to see the big bad actually kill his target, as so often crime dramas have the happy ever after ending, where the good guys save the day and everyone lives happily ever after. Instead Karl’s son was killed and although the Truth Terrorist’s ultimate aim of having Karl kill him so as to become a villain in his own right failed, it was believable that a man who was capable of doing all of that would get to the very edge of completing his final obstacle, only for the hero to rise above it.
The only major issue I had with this final big twist was that I didn’t find Adam a particularly engaging character. It is a classic TV trope that teenagers are unlovable messes, and the Tunnel suffered from this. You felt sorry for Karl (a very well written and acted part) because it is easy to relate to him, yes he was dafty, but you knew his heart was in the right place. The impact would have been greater had they made Adam a more engaging character.
One of the odd things I found about the Tunnel and its main antagonist, was that I found myself agreeing with some of the points which were being made by the Truth Terrorist, obviously his actual action were those of a psychopath, however a number of uncomfortable truths were raised. That is often the makings of a truly great antagonist, one who has a degree of truth to his deplorable actions.
The acting generally was pretty good throughout, with Stephan Dillane and Clemence Poesy (Karl and Elise respectively) putting in superlative performances. Dillane made the show in my opinion, his general light-heartedness and countless quips gave light in what was a fairly dark story. That combination of the dark story but the injection of comedy is what makes the difference between an average crime drama and a very good one.
As I have said previously, it is hard to do a remake of a very well received piece and not have people pick holes in it because it doesn’t match up to the original. More or less the reason for this is that they have already seen the story once and can see all the twists coming, made all the worse by the probability that they went into it expecting to see something different from its Scandinavian counterpart, only to get the same thing. The acting was generally excellent and the two main characters were engaging, so anyone who comes away from watching the Tunnel bitching about it not being a patch on the Bridge, whilst also complaining that the story is too similar, well I’m afraid they are just pretentious…I know…imagine someone who loves Scandinavian noir drama being pretentious, heaven forbid!
So what did you think of the first series of the Tunnel? Did you enjoy the journey? Do you think that it should have been a one series piece? Do you want to run Dillane’s shiny head? Are you curious as to whether Canal + still has soft pornography on at night like they did in the early noughties? Why not leave a comment and share those thoughts?
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