Post image for DVD Review: THE TUNNEL: SABOTAGE (PBS)

by Dale Reynolds on December 30, 2017

in CD-DVD,Film


A continuation of the superb series that so far six countries have originated or adapted: Sweden/Denmark’s The Bridge (original and two sequels); America/Mexico’s The Bridge (only one season); and now the second season of the French/British adaptation, titled “Sabotage” — and there is a third in line.

Two police departments from France and the UK, with the action set mainly in Calais and Folkestone, uses the European Tunnel (informally nicknamed The Chunnel) as the focal point of the drama. Detectives Elise Wasserman (Cleménce Poésy) of France, and Karl Roebuck (the ever-powerful Stephen Dillane) of Britain, are reunited to work together to solve the murder of a French politician in a horrific plane crash, inflicted by a radical-atheist serial killer who is obsessed with politics and computers.

This person, Robert Fournier (Belgian actor Johan Heldenbergh), someone gripped with hatred for what he and his followers think is the moral bankruptcy of today’s civilization, threatens the lives of many (in addition to the 150 killed on the plane), especially endangering our two intrepid detectives. Wasserman and Roebuck also have to fight entrenched prejudices of the two country’s police departments (that are, in fact, some of the more appealing parts of the drama).

Numbering 400 minutes over eight episodes, the entanglements are untied and the evil-doers are dealt-with, a fact that one should almost always expect in such shows. So, it is the Scandi-noir quality of the scripts that are engrossing (Yann Le Nivet, Ben Richards, Louise Ironside, and Frank Philippon are responsible for the current season), along with the superior work of French, English and Flemish directors: Gilles Bannier, Mike Barker, Tim Mielants, and Carl Tibbetts.

That essence of noir is, undoubtedly, what adds to the visual bleakness of this drama, with its harrowing images of murder and mayhem, holding up well in comparison with the Nordic original. The veteran producers have certainly brought their expertise to the casting of actors and the hiring of artisans.

The bonus section has superb backstage looks at how the series was put together: “Anatomy of a Scene,” “An International Production,” and “The Evolution of Karl and Elise.”

All-in-all, a carefully thought through and never over-wrought entertainment.

photos courtesy of PBS

The Tunnel: Sabotage (Season 2)
3 discs | 400 minutes | rated TV-14
released July 17, 2017
available on Blu-ray and DVD at PBS and Amazon

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