First of the bat this is a brilliant suspenseful and intriguing series just about twice as good as any ‘TV detectives on the hunt’ stuff you’ll find. I’ll come to why not 5 stars in a minute but I want to pick out the positives and make it clear that if you haven’t caught this series yet you are in for a treat.
The realism of the dialogue is impressive. Stephen Dillane chews up the scenery as they say, as the male lead and Clémence Poésy performs the difficult feat of making you as a viewer forget for a moment how heart-thumpingly beautiful she is. She can really act. Another big plus for the series is that there is no romantic interaction between the leads. They each have their separate wayward lives and stick to them, the writers cleverly avoiding the cliché of telling an ‘unusual’ love story too many series fall prey to.
The settings are unlike those in other thrillers and when the actors step onto French soil or English soil you have lots of tells they are there. Also, the procedures of the British and French police are just so entertainingly and convincingly different. (Two expert advisers I noticed in the credits took care of this, one on the French police and one for the British police and goodness how well this worked.)
There are huge chunks of French rapid-fire dialogue scattered all over the place and this French dialogue is sub-titled for ease of following the story for the majority of us English-speaking people who have some French (just as the English male lead detective does) but whose French is nowhere near as good as educated French people’s command of English. (How embarrassing and how true this rings.) Another tick for verisimilitude. Also helping the reality of the thing along is excellent acting from all the supports. They all convince thoroughly in the parts they are playing.
So finally. Why four stars and not five? If criticism be due it is that the story is just a little over-packed with plots and there is the slightest ‘diminishing return’ as the violent tale is told. Until about 3/4 of the way through the aggression and the tension is ratcheted up almost unbearably and continually but the denouement revealed in about the last quarter of the series is not quite as good as I was expecting from the build-up to it. So four stars not five.
(Anyway, with ‘five star reviews’ scattered like confetti over so many TV series that really don’t merit them on Amazon that currency has become a bit debased and I for one no longer count on them.)
I want and must to end on a positive note because this series just deserves it.
The Tunnel is 5 hours of gripping and excellent TV and worth anyone’s time and money.
It is obviously a re-make of The Bridge (Broen / Bron) - the Scandinavian crime television series. So the first season sticks very closely to the plot of the original series with some British/French twist. Which makes it all right by itself but nevertheless below the standards set by the original series. In the second season they have decided to use a completely new plot which had nothing to do with the original Scandinavian series and which, really unfortunately, complete ruined the impression. Instead of trying to keep the high standard of the psychological drama linked to the first season as set by the original Broen / Bron the second season drifts away completely into the international terrorists / Russian spies / hidden nazi "James Bond" style. Moreover the character of the female detective (who is supposedly suffering from the Asperger's syndrome) which was the main plot line in the original series and which was in some way shown in the first season of The Tunnel has completely changed in the second season and shifted towards a "loner police boss woman" which definitely did not help. So if you really want to enjoy it - definitely go for the original Scandinavian The Bridge (Broen / Bron), not for The Tunnel
I can't believe how under-rated this series is. It knocks spots off all the tat coming out of the USA. No male models, no slim and gorgeous dolls, no ongoing buddy-buddy shoot-em-up macho-ism, just ordinary looking flawed people doing their best in the shabby end of society. Great acting, compelling stories. Absolutely brilliant.
caveat : on streaming i found the film in subtitles which was as exactly what i needed - hard of hearing ; it seems that the series is a joint french english production but but mainly in french . But two or three episodes have no subtitles which is frustrating . Amazon not make this use of subtitles evident before you purchase the film ie which episodes are without subtitles . i saw and heard enough to state it is a very weak version of the original The Bridge . in general i find Amazon are very inconsistent in indicating whether it is possible to watch with subtitles .: English seems to cover both with in english and with subtitles :when possible you can check this by watching the trailer but for a TV series no trailer is provided
Only half way through but we are having to resist watching more than 2 episodes a night. Although there is violence from the start there is quite a lot of humour from both the French and English sides. Great interplay between the characters. I would recommend this.
Very enjoyable detective thriller series. The direction had a good eye for the little things and detail that made the human level believable beneath the gripping plot line. Their is something Michael 'Cainish' about Stephen Dillane's acting which is earthy and real. Clémence Poésy acting and minimal facial expressions in her role are masterful and embracing. Both series are well worth watching.
I am a huge fan of the original Scandi "The Bridge" so was expecting this to be a pale copy. Actually enjoyed it from the get-go , mainly because the two lead actors are so good and the Anglo-French interaction compelling and credible. Well made and just different enough from the original to keep the interest going. Looking forward to watching Season 2