This blu-ray review is almost completely spoiler free.
Now first thing to be clear about is that I haven’t watched the original version of The Tunnel, and by that I mean The Bridge, by all accounts this Anglo-French remake is exactly the same, but I can’t confirm that. Coming at the series fresh though I can tell you it’s brilliant, right up to the slightly disappointing final episode or two, let’s not get ahead though.
The Tunnel is the story of two police forces, the British and the French, working together (mostly) to solve a murder (initially), before that murder evolves into two murders (of a French politician and a British prostitute), and then into something much more elaborate and conspiracy driven. To give much more detail about the plot would be to give too much away about the story, so I’ll try not to. The lead detective for the Brits is Karl Roebuck, played with dishevelled charm by a brilliant Stephen Dillane, and representing our Gallic cousins is Elise Wasserman, played with a Sherlock-esque lack of human intuition by Clemence Poesy. And this central partnership is the key strength of the series. By having ten episodes, as opposed to the British standard of six, it allows time for the odd couple and their relationship - purely platonic - to grow. Starting off with the usual buddy movie standard of opposing personalities that grate against one another, by the end though there is genuine feeling between the two. That this doesn’t feel forced or fake is mainly down to the chemistry between Dillane and Poesy, and their skill in evolving their characters from the slight caricatures they are in the opening episode. You’ll also see a guest stars scattered throughout as Liz Smith, Joseph Mawle, and Keeley Hawes turn up in relatively minor roles, but help to flesh out the supporting cast with some solid acting.
It’s also notable that it’s a true Anglo-French co-production, the cast are split fairly evenly, there’s a mix in the writer and director chairs, even the crew are a combination of French and British. This extends to the dialogue on screen as well with liberal use of subtitles, although you get the feeling there has been more of a concession made to us lazy Brits as the French speak far more English than the British do French. Although maybe that’s just art imitating life.
The Tunnel is great addition to the thriller genre, with its top notch cast, some lovely filming locations, a strong story that keeps you guessing, and real drama both from characters interactions and through the central plotline. This is a definite to pick up on DVD or Blu-ray, a remake that not only doesn’t stink, it’s actually gripping and original.
Turning to the disc itself, the audio is presented in PCM Stereo and DTS 5.1 which delivers as you would expect and aside from a single explosion there aren’t many Hollywood effects to deal with and the sound is more than capable when it comes to the dialogue which is clear, including the quieter scenes. Obviously for a show that involved a lot of talking that’s a major tick in the box.
Picture-wise, and as you’d expect from a contemporary show shot recently, it's excellent. It has clear levels of grey, deals with the few dark scenes competently and handles the washed out colouring of the show well. With no vivid colours the picture looks deliberately wet and subdued, fitting the ambiance of the show perfectly.
The extras included are some cast and crew interviews and a short making of, neither of these were available to view on the preview copy.