From its delicate, eerie opening credits to the spiraling drama that emerges from a seemingly simple premise, The Tunnel is an unexpectedly promising remake of the original Danish/Swedish Broen/Bron (The Bridge).
Stephen Dillane plays Karl Roebuck (best known as Stannis from Game of Thrones), a British detective who is called into the Channel Tunnel for a rendezvous around whose duty it is to deal with the body that has been placed over the thin borderline between England and France. The French team are headed by Elise Wassermann (played by Clémence Poésy), a cold, humourless, hostile blonde who clashes rather magnificently at points with the warmer, bloke-ish Roebuck.
After the obvious jokes about Roebuck’s inability to speak more than GCSE level French and the slightly two-dimensional Elise, The Tunnel manages to create in places a haunting atmosphere, with perhaps over used grey drab visuals that nonetheless allow the actors to command our attention and brings us just a little bit closer to the events that are played out onscreen. One of the most effective scenes in the episode (involving lasers and a drug riddled journalist) escalated to involve an unexpected moral dilemma and quickly makes you realise how menacing the mysterious antagonist has the potential to be. Joseph Mawle’s (i.e. Benjen Stark from Game of Thrones) unnerving character managed to make me feel threatened and gave me the itching desire to turn the light on and go watch something with rainbows and puppies.
Despite the similarities to The Bridge, the rich history between the British and the French provides numerous paths the series could take and hopefully it will forge its own identity. For this intrepid joint venture between Sky Atlantic and Canal+, there may indeed be a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Tunnel is on Sky Atlantic every Wednesday at 9pm.
Zoe Delahunty Light
Photo: Property of sky.com