A The Bridge Community
FX (ended 2014)
Hearing the song you love sung by another singer very seldom makes it better. Songs are short so there are so few elements to compare. Books are seldom rewritten, so there are no possibilities of comparison there. But films and television get remakes all the time and they usually take up more time so different interpretations are possible. And compared to songs, where you usually don’t say you like the singing in one version and the base player in the other, that is possible with a television series.

Last week I wrote a first impression of The Tunnel. After watching the second episode of “The Tunnel” I watched the second episodes of ‘Broen/Bron’ and ‘The Bridge’ again to make a better comparison. My comparison after the first episode was purely based on memory. The unexpected thing that happened was that I now admire the American version more than I did before. This might also be the case because I feel the English/French version is doing the (relative) worst job of the three up to now.

In short what happens in the second episode: Stephen is following a woman (Suze) who meets up with Tupac, a pimp and drug dealer. Later on she appears to be his sister who next to robbing people in disco’s, also helps an old lady in an elderly home. But every time the old lady gets her pills, Suze nicks them and gives the old lady paracetamol. Elise visits the pathologist who tells her that the bodies have been separated in a professional way and probably in a slaughterhouse. Alain, Charlotte’s husband, while walking on a platform and frightened by other people on that platform, stumbles easily and falls in front of a passing train (a bit of a deus ex machina the other way around). The guy that cleans up his hotel room then finds an envelope with money and an USB-stick! While investigating the murdered prostitute Gemma, Karl meets up with Tupac and via him another prostitute who gives him a diary of Gemma. Stephen Beaumont brings the asylum seeker Veronica to an outhouse in the country because of a threat of Tupac. Elise, when reading up on the case, finds out she needs a man and goes to the bartender inviting him to have sex (they do). While reading up on the people that threatened the killed judge Villeneuve, she finds Joel Mougin, a self-sufficient organic farmer with his own slaughterhouse. When she goes over there she finds, besides being captured by Joel and freeing herself, a set of legs hanging in the refrigerator. After the interrogation it is clear that it is a red herring because Joel doesn’t speak English. In the elders home of the old lady, as a second act by the murder, many die because of toxic pills. Because Suze took the pills from the old lady, she also almost dies and the old lady survives.

Writing this, I realise that I didn’t have the murder investigation as a leading issue in my mind. Daniel, the reporter, doesn’t get a mention although he gets interrogated twice. What does that say?

In the age of technical wizardry, one should never ask questions how something is accomplished, But I really don’t know how the webcam images the murder made of the discovery of the body got to him. One can place webcams over there, but how do you get the signal out of there, twenty-five kilometres out of land on the bottom of the North sea? You need cables and he didn’t have that. Okay, I’ll discard that.

I had high hopes for the English – French and vice versa jokes, but obviously it is a sensitive subject after all. I counted three, but maybe French or English inhabitants can enlighten me. Karl calls Elise ‘Fifi Croissant’ when his son asks for her name and he replies ’Yeah? Well, I would’. That’s one you must explain to me. Danny says about Elise: ‘She's about as useful as the Maginot Line and Laura calls Elise ‘Obelix’ again when Eliase calls Karl in the middle of the night. I didn’t find it as amusing as I probably should.

The Tunnel, especially in France, seems to be set in more places then Dover alone. Bron and The Bridge were really all about Copenhagen/Stockholm and El Paso/Juarez. When Elise finds the connection between Joel Mougin slaughterhouse and the murder after her sex adventure, she drives out to wherever he is located in the country. As Villeneuve was a politician, it might have been anywhere. But she arrives within the same night. That didn’t convince me at all. Apart from the distance, picking Joel out of a list of because he has a self-sufficient organic farm and therefore a slaughterhouse was really farfetched for me. How did the murder envision that Elise would go there? In Bron Saga finds the slaughterhouse though the same observation from the pathologist and a partial stamp from a slaughterhouse area on the murdered body. That at least was a more logical way of finding out. The US version didn’t bother with it at all.

In my first review, I questioned the use of the German names for Elise Wassermann and Karl Roebuck. The Tunnel, being French/English, is obviously concerned with the second world war and the Jewish ‘problem’ than the US version or Bron. The reason Joel threatened Villeneuve was because of his hate for the ‘Zionist Occupied Government of France’. The Tunnel doesn’t even use the word ‘supposed‘ or ‘alleged’. When he captures Elise, she admits in having a Jewish father and a catholic mother. I’m still not sure what this attributed to the scene, but I was interested as my grandfather was Jewish and my grandmother catholic and I know what that cost them in the last century. Danny, the journalist, when questioned says: ‘what is this, the Third Reich?’. A second reference to the second world war, one I haven’t heard since the seventies. As the English haven’t been occupied by Germany, I even don’t understand why they would use it.

Last week I wondered if they would take into account that France and England are not really around the edge like El Paso/Juarez or Copenhagen/Stockholm. And yes, they did. Elise and Karl were hardly together this episode, only in the beginning and the end. Let’s put that on the positive account of recognising the distance. It also gives me a feeling of loss as the interaction between Elise and Karl (Saga/Martin, Marco/Sonya) is an importantbuilding block in the series.

The Porsche didn’t show up at all. There was a small discussion in the comments last week about the Porsche and whether it would represent Elise’s character. If so, they should have put it into more use this week. Bron showed the car a few times and as far as I’m concerned, the American SUV had nothing to do with Sonya’s character at all.

Elise’s character is still being set up. We see her sitting behind her desk and in the next scene going into the hotel and asking the barman to have sex with her. But it was after a pretty normal discussion about each other’s availability for sex. Elise’s face looks quite without emotions, just like Charlie in Revolution season one. That’s not good.



I really don’t understand why the producer thought this would add to her character. In Bron and The Bridge the scenes are practically identical to each other. Saga/Sonya is in her room walking around and reading about the case. You see a thought coming up in her eyes and she puts her hand down her trouser and stroking herself. In the next scene she is in a club where she picks up a guy almost without discussion, especially without any moral discussion. The difference in the scenes is that in Bron one can see the effect (in her face) of her hand. Although The Tunnel tries to make Elise seem particular, the morals they also put in that scene take the effect away. But to be honest, she looks beautiful.


The Bron and Bridge version of this pickup scene were far more superior.

I didn’t mention it before, but in Bron she is dressed in leather clothes. The Bridge and Tunnel didn’t seem to need that.

Whilst in Bron Saga’s successes in re-connecting with humanity form the most is the poignant story arc of the series, in The Bridge and Especially The Tunnel the side stories seem to be as important as Elise’s is. It almost felt like the side stories had more screening time then the murder investigation and Elise had. It did not feel right as the main story should have the major part of the attention. Probably it had, it just didn’t feel so.

One aspect where the English police seems to be much brighter then the US or Danish colleagues is that they bugged Danny’s telephone lines. The other two versions didn’t and were dependant on thecooperation of Frye/Ferbé.

Last week I wrote that Elise’s character didn’t grab me at all. She is ‘socially inept, but it feels incongruent with her looks and behaviour. For me the main issue still is in her eyes. This week she looked withinvestigating, piercing eyes, but not piercing enough to make it uncomfortable. Especially Diana Kruger as Sonya did great, she looked away, seems uncertain, restless, especially in the first episodes, in line with the role she was supposed to play. Saga did almost the same.

Stephen takes pictures of the girls while saying: ‘I like to remember the people I help’. That sounds alarming so I hope they will make something out of that in the rest of the episodes. Stephen seems so nice, but he’s got a sinister side I suspect.

It also felt very strange that there was no new scene at all in/off/around the tunnel. Bron and The Bridge delivered a scene every week to make us remember where we were talking about.

The US version made us realise that there are so many murdered women in Juarez that nobody cared about. They hardly investigated that line. The other two really did some investigating into the murdered prostitute. This made more sense and felt much better. I’m wondering why the US version didn’t. Maybe they really weren’t interested?

One thing that is the same in all series: Charlotte. The problems she faces after her husband dies are completely different. I haven’t seen the Tunnel version, but I almost can’t imagine that they are as intriguing as in the US version. French Charlotte seems more naive and less equipped to handle any problem.

Tupac, the pimp and drug dealer, seems to be the bad guy in this story. He’s got connections to most of the players. Apart from choosing a poor name (the original Tupac is pushing up daisies, no more, used to be etc.), he doesn’t strike me as a Galvan yet.That guy really meant business and I’m not sure Tupac is up to anything worse than a misdemeanor.
Danny, as the reporter, seems even more irritating than Frye/Farbé were. Of course this may be the intention of the producer, but at least Frye/Farbé had some endearing qualities that we can identify with. Danny has none. I really do not like him.

In respond to an earlier comment Karl made about a photograph, Elise told Karl she had a twin sister who drowned. This is completely different from the other versions. In the Bridge Sonya’s sister is murdered and that shaped her character (including the SUV), and as far as I can remember it wasn’t even mentioned in Bron. I wonder in what way the drowning of her sister will add to the personality we’ve come to know as Elise, I can’t image one. And there we’ve got one of my problems. Though they seem to set up Elise as a complex personality, for me they just don’t accomplish it. Especially in comparison with Sonya and Saga.

The killing of the old people in The Tunnel by delivering toxic medicine seems more realistic then putting some water cans in the desert,hoping the Mexican people will find them. Bron does something in between, delivering toxic wine to homeless people.
Other small differences that probably aren’t that interesting to the story:

· In Bron and The Bridge the abduction is recorded by a surveillance camera and therefore seen by the police, in The Tunnel she just disappears when walking in a park.

· In Bron male and female nudity are seen, although Saga keeps her shirt on while having sex. Maybe that’s in character for her. In the Tunnel we have a nude Elise while having sex and in the Bridge no nudity is seen at all. That seems to be compliant with the morals in the countries (or networks). I do hope you Americans will have more of nature’s best in the future.

· In the tunnel Danny, the reporter, is a loner, working at home. In the other two he is in an office with colleagues who are of influence, especially in The Bridge

· In the Bridge Sonya is making mistakes that can be related to her Asperger, in especially the Tunnel she doesn’t make any real mistakes

· As in the other versions, Karl and his son Adam had their first visible row. But in the Tunnel there was a very small physical part (Karl grabbed his arm) that was not in the other two. It might be more acceptable in England than in the other countries

· In The Tunnel, Laura, Karl’s wife isn’t pregnant yet but she probably will soon be as it feeds into the emotion of the story

· Btw, Laura did a wonderful job as Genevieve in Merlin over the last years. Loved that series.

In the end, what is also different is something I mentioned last week and really pleases me: everyone in The Tunnel seems to be connected. Although I planned to make a diagram, I’ll put that endeavor away for a next time.

The theme song is by Charlotte Gainsbourg and is in French and English. It fits the opening scenes of this series as well as the Danish/Swedish song did for Bron. Listening back the American song it seems less appropriate for what it needs to present. I didn’t find them on Youtube, so no referrals here.

I haven’t really spoken about Karl. That is because he didn’t make another impression then he did last week. He seems nice, but doesn’t impress as a ladies’ man.

Looking back, I’ve gained new admiration for the US version. It’s got the better of most worlds except for the sometimes prude way of picturing relations. I’m still wondering if I’ll keep on watching the rest of The Tunnel, but probably I will because I’m still curious. On the other hand, I’ve also got the second season of the original series. But I’m waiting until that whole series is finished so I can watch it in one go.

PS Writing this second comparison made me have more and more respect for the tv.com reviewers. It took me a lot of hours to watch the episodes and write this review. And being a non native English writer cannot explain all of it.
Comments (24)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Goodness me, I don't think I have ever read a review which floundered so much from beginning to end. I think the give away was in the final sentence, which says it all: "non native English". I suspect "non native French" as well. Not to mention "non native German" when it came to grappling unsuccessfully with the concept of The Third Reich. I will bet my bottom dollar, and I have one, that the writer could not state, if asked, what the 1st and 2nd Reichs were, nor how long they lasted compared to how long they were supposed to last. So it stands to reason that the reviewer would not spot the "jokes" or rather, shall we more properly say, the wit and humour in The Tunnel. There were no Groucho Marx one liners nor even one of Tommy Cooper's magical pieces: they were Anglo-French historical manifestations.

Let me explain one. It came straight up in the first few minutes. The French stood in the tunnel, watching the British approach. The French said to themselves
"Here come the Rosbifs (subtitled as Brits)."
"It's OK, they all speak French these days."
French to Brits: "Bonjour" very short jour, as the French say it.
Brits to French: Bon Joooouuuur". which is not how it is said in France.
French, sighing, resort to English.

Now that is not a belly laugh line, nor a chuckle, although perhaps almost a chuckle. The 10 episodes were full of this sort of interchange. If you are not French or English then it will be lost on you. If you are not Danish or Swedish, the subtleties of the Bridge will be lost on you. Otherwise, you should stick to the US version where they usually have a flashing arrow pointing to the Bridge, with text at the non pointed end saying "Bridge".

We, (her and I), devoted a 2 hr matinee during this winter, to watch many Scandinavian crime thriller political series: Borgen, The Bridge, The Protectors, Unit One, The Eagle and threw in The Tunnel for good measure. Danish seems to be 1/3 English (mother tongue), 1/3 German (fluent tongue) and 1/3 impenetrable. I got some jokes, but assumed the subtleties often fell into the last category.

And while we mention German, someone has missed a trick. Why hasn't ARD or ZDF made a series "Die Mauer" where a body is found beneath Das Brandenburger Tor ca 1970. They only need one language. And being German, there wouldn't be any jokes anyway.

More+
Reply
Flag
Dear Robin, I appreciate the fact that you read my review. You did what I asked: 'but maybe French or English inhabitants can enlighten me', but the one you mention I had noticed already. I did mention in the post that I might not have recognised all jokes and it is very very weak of you then to attack me on not recognising all. So please tell me which other ones did I miss. It might help other readers.

I did not mention anything on the concept of the third Reich, although you attack me on it. I only mention it is second world war related and it is, or would you say otherwise?

It's great you saw all those Scandinavian crime series in a 2 hr matinee. I saw them all and it took me some more time. But I also liked them very much. I like the fact that you pose yourself as being so astute, so well 'tongued', thus saying that you are so right in what you say.

To keep a little secret, I will not tell you what my native language is, how many languages I speak fluently, how many books I've read and how much I now about all the Reichs. What I will say is that you have every right to make comments, but it would be so much nicer if you would make them more positive, even if you do not agree with them. As you are completely new on the site, you might have missed a few things. One being the respect you should have for other members (so no professionals and paid reviewers from the site) who took the time to make these for other members. And even if they were paid reviewers, you should show some more respect. If you know better, please take the time to write your own posts and reviews. We then will take the time to give good comments if the post is worth it.
More +
1
Reply
Flag
I am still enjoying the tunnel, it is not nearly as complex as the bridge. I really like the song at the beginning it lingers in the background of your mind , while you watch the various nefarious deeds like a kind of Grand guignol form of levity. Elise is quite a nutural with her asbergers. I keep hoping that they wont pursue the master plotline, even tho , i know it's inevitable.... i have no correlation for the ninja split personality guy....any ideas?
Reply
Flag
Hey, thank you for this, I have found a lot of things I could make comments on, but there are too many - so I'll just comment in one this time :)

I like the UK version so far, and I did like the US version too. Haven't seen the Danish one yet.

I like Elise, although she has nothing to do with Sonya, the other version I know. For me, Elise doesn't have the same social issue that Sonya does. Sonya lacks empathy and has problems to understand what people mean. Goes more in the side of aspergers. But Elise seems mainly sad/depressed and somehow lacks emotions out of some kind of trauma (sister's death, probably). Maybe I'm wrong, but it's what it looks to me. Also, Elise seems to be a full independent police detective, while Sonya was protected by that paternal figure of the police chief. And she has a kind of childish look that Elise doesn't have, and that helps to relate more to an autistic condition. They are very different, but they both seem "real" to me in their own way.
Reply
Flag
Thnak you for your kind remakrs.

I also get the impression that Elise is more of a 'norma' person without the aspergers. For me the eyes were the best giveaways. The only thing I didn't understand is why there were so many of the scenes that should make her without emotions like the telephone caal with the reporter, the sex scene, the jokes her colleagues made about her etc. That made is incongruent for me. Also, the development of Sonya/Saga into a more humane character is an important part of the story. How will they use that if Elise is not that deep into anything. They might use her sisters death, but that won't explain it all.
2
Reply
Flag
I don't know if it is that way in Bron, but the whole asperges thing really breaks in The Bridge in the last scene with the killer, where Sonya lies to Marco "for his own good" . We know that she has learned this skill from Marco, she wouldn't have pulled that by herlself, because of her condition. But she has adapted. She has learned something and she's now using it here. HOWEVER, aspergers condition is still there. Or it should be. And in the latest episodes, we have seen a very different Sonya that I am not sure is consistent with her condition.

Anyways, if it is aspergers what they want to reflect, they don't need to show a person becoming "more human", but the process of learning new social skills. The mechanical way in which she realizes that now is a good moment to put into practice the "lie for his own good" theory, even though it doesn't make sense to her. The character can show that she has emotions just by the fact that she cares for the other character enough to lie, when it doesn't make any sense for her to lie. She doesn't even need to blink. This can be played in very different ways because aspergers people are not all the same. Elise can pull the same trick without changing too much her facial expression. Maybe they are routing for that in this version.

Or maybe they just don't want it to be aspergers at all. And that would allow a bigger change in the character.


More +
1
Reply
Flag
Ouch, early morning, not awake yet. Wanted to write: thank you for your kind remarks.
Reply
Flag
again Bron is miles better...


1
Reply
Flag
Then The Tunnel, absolutely true!
1
Reply
Flag
Bron is better than The Tunnel and The Bridge all together.

Only because u live in the USA and u watch that situation closely you cant say its better, because there is for sure someone in Europe that live the same situation as in Denmark which happens in many European country, its so real, as for the mexican cartel machete wannabe, well it only happens in america and is good in a movie but not Topnotch and not original. Non USA people prefer Bron and everyone that understand about acting and writing knows that...Even americans say Bron is better...I know u dont like the language and thats teh difference between someone who can review everything and someone who cant...

And saying Diane Krugger is better actress than Sofia Helin based on their both performances is being wrong twice. Sofia Helin character is much better achieved than Dianne Krugger which for me is forced. And im not even go talking about the mexican cop vs Kim Bodnia
Reply
Flag
Dear DrXabregas, I am Dutch, born, bred and living in the Netherlands. Next to Dutch, I speak and understand English, French, German and have tried a bit Danish.

Thank you that you find my use of the English language so good that you think I'm an American.
3
Reply
Flag
I like your review, i dont particularly agree with all your conclusions, but i am impressed with the obvious effort you went to,and the comparisons are insightful and helpful. I stumbled onto the tunnel , did not immediately know it was a variation on a theme. ....till they found the body, and then I was happy to try this version out. I like the tunnel, I think the pimp is a joke. I would have tazed him in about 3 seconds. The girl stealing the meds was convincing, even if we knew where it was headed. I wonder if this being a retelling of a retelling, makes it seem worn. like I said; I like this version just fime. The bridge is a little sterile for me, it is early, and you are right, a lot of back story is just ignored (so far) in the tunnel. I am happy to wait and see.
1
Reply
Flag
Thank you for the kind words. I am happy i could help you with some insights. The review of course is my own personal opinion and if others do not agree on pints, that makes it more interesting as we might discuss. If everone always agrees the world becomes pretty dull.

For me it was the same, I stumbled on The Tunnel and even can't remeber how although it was only a few weeks ago. Compared to galvan, the pimp indeed is a joke. Not menacing at all. Glavan really was a creep you want to stay away from.

I read it is a retelling of Bron and the original writer was part of the team that wrote The Tunnel. That's why I didn't understand the compete rewrite of the sex scene as it was very strong way of showing her character.

I do hope The Tunnel will get better and not get worse baceuae it will not be fine anymore in that case.
Reply
Flag
Yeah, It is kind of hard to top the visceral quality of the US/ MEX dialectic to use the word from the show itself. I like the step back from the stateside version because it makes the killings creepier. The wholesale carnage that is present in our world (I Live in Texas) kinda makes a person desensitized to the horrendous nature of the crimes. I was glad I still found the senseless murders appalling. It made me go back and watch the US version. Kudos to Kruger, Behir, and anytime i get to see ted levine is cool! Nudity, schmudity, estados unidos is still fukt up by it's puritanism. just a stylistic blip. Sonya would have let the guy stay the night, just keep your possessive or yearning fingers off her. Eva's asbergers was subtly and entertainingly different. All three versions of the sex scene show a "deep"hunger from our lead detective, the rest seems like coke or pepsi to me. Once she is sated, she is back on the job. Sonya gets a few extra points for being such a jackass about the ambulance, lol. i like them both, and i hope , as you do that the show continues to improve!
More +
Reply
Flag
i loved the drug stealing sister being so angry at the old lady's kids for ignoring her, while being so blind to her own cruelty in the tunnel
Reply
Flag
Bron/Broen is in Copenhagen & Malmo (not Stockholm) ;p
1
Reply
Flag
Thanks. I am getting old, my memory is obviously not what it used to be :-).
1
Reply
Flag
Sonya, from The Bridge is by far the most interesting character and seems to be played to perfection by Diane Kruger. Also, the Juarez/El Paso situation is very current and dismaying, and, it is something I'm familiar with. We occasionally go to Mexico and there is always a feeling of dread involved (Algadones and Rocky Point). The Tunnel hasn't grabbed me yet and neither have the characters, but like you, I too am curious. I tried to watch the original, Bron, but couldn't find it in English, so I passed. From reading your article, I have more insight into The Tunnel, so that helps. Oddly, my wife suggested we watch episode 2 of The Tunnel last night--she didn't love The Bridge as much as I did is why it was odd. So, we will continue in hopes that it gets better.

Thanks for writing this. It is very comprehensive and insightful, although I can't quite understand why you would spend so much time on it. The Tunnel, so far, is just not that good. But it is interesting to compare it with The Bridge.

As for Tim's Bridge reviews, they were accurate, but I found it more compelling than he did--probably because of Sonya. I am assuming that Bron was pretty good and I like the US interpretation very much even though I'm not familiar with the original.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
You should indeed watch it with subtitles. My Swedish and Danish aren't what it used to be (tried learning Danish once for a short amount of time) and it worked for me. They are easy to find.

I had my reasons to spend so m uch time on it, but it will be my last with so much text. It took me a lot more then I had expected.

And I wasn't refering to specifically Tim's reviews, but reviewers in general. As they are professionals, native English/American and do it more often, they will be faster in writing a long review. But still....
1
Reply
Flag
You should watch the original Bron/Broen, try maybe with english subtitles??. Now we can see the second season and its amazing. I loved Sonya in the US versión, but I think that Saga (original character) is even better.
4
Reply
Flag
Follow this Show
Members
1,902