tue 24/04/2018

The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic review - entente not-so-cordiale | reviews, news & interviews

The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic review - entente not-so-cordiale

The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic review - entente not-so-cordiale

Return of the Franglais cops, battling unscrupulous people-traffickers

Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy) and Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) find evidence of missing children

For the third and allegedly final time, we hasten back to the Kent coast for another outbreak of cross-Channel crime. Not all that surprisingly, this new series of the Franglais cop show focuses on a people-smuggling racket bringing bedraggled Syrian refugees over to Britain from the French coast, though it might have been a bit more fun if we’d had a mackerel war between French and British fishermen, or were plunged into the unfolding crisis as a Eurostar-load of Brussels bureaucrats were forced to drink Kentish sparkling wine.

Anyway, it’s bonjour all over again to dogged British detective Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane), and to his quasi-autistic French partner Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy). The Tunnel, you will recall, was conceived as a sub-oceanic remake of Scandi hit The Bridge, and Poésy gets the Sofia Helin role. At least she has an excuse for her antisocial behaviour. Roebuck is just a charmless lunk.

The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky AtlanticIt’s de rigueur for the contemporary thriller to kick off with something macabre and grotesque. In this case, we had some frightened-looking children cowering on a battered French fishing boat in mid-Channel at dead of night. Then a scary-looking man wearing a gas mask splashed petrol all over the deck and set fire to the boat. The next day, when the charred wreck of the vessel had been recovered, Roebuck and his British chums heard a thumping noise. They opened a hatch and found a bloodstained man who’d been bound hand and foot. Somebody had also cut his tongue out, which he vomited onto the deck. Charmant.

While Roebuck expressed horror at the unknown fate of the children on the boat – they’d vanished, but a charred toy car and a child’s shoe were evidence that they’d been aboard – his boss Winnie Miles (Felicity Montagu, pictured above) saw an opportunity to wash her hands of the whole murky business. Fingerprinting had identified the tongueless man as a people trafficker based in France, and the boat had been stolen from the other side of the Channel a day earlier. “French boat, French trafficker, their problem,” she snorted, adding that she was sick of the French not being able to control their borders.

It’s not going to be as simple as that obviously, and soon Roebuck was getting back into the arcane ways of cross-border policing. It would undoubtedly help if his French extended further than oui and croissant, and the new boss in Wassermann’s department, Astor Chaput (Valentin Merlet), needs to be watched closely. A master of smooth bonhomie, he’s a tricky political animal with his sights set on the bright lights of Paris. As for the British, his conclusion is that “they want to have their cake and eat it, with a Brexit cherry on top.” Touché, old bean.

The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky AtlanticMeanwhile, the former liaison between Wassermann and Roebuck is taking a while to warm up. At first she refused to speak to him at all – “What have I done? I voted in!” he protested, which might make him slightly unfashionable on the South Coast – but gradually it emerged that she’s deeply pissed off by Chaput’s cunning ploy of reducing the officers available to police people trafficking, then trumpeting the reduced number of arrests as evidence that people trafficking is on the decline. Old trick, usually works. (Pictured above, Max Baissette de Malglaive as Charlie, assumed dead but found alive).

However, Elise is getting her mojo back. After the stunning news that the missing boat-children had been found, but only because they’d been substituted for the now-abducted three children of the Carver family, who live on the Kent coast, it was she who grasped the potentially huge significance of the gas-mask which had been washed up on the beach. It was she, too, who chanced upon the eerie connection between the child-snatcher and a plague of rats in the Chunnel. I sense the going is likely to get Gothic.

@SweetingAdam

 

Comments

I stopped reading after the “Roebuck is just a charmless lunk” statement. What an awful review, from a 2nd-rate writer. Go and watch Hollyoaks - you’ll be better suited.

If you only read the first two paragraphs (or was it just the pull-quote at the side?), your argument is ill-informed.

Just an awful review.

awful review x 2. Why mock and belittle? Sure, some characters were a little cliché but on the whole it was full of original likeable but flawed characters and a good story.

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