Monday, May 09, 2011

TV Review

More Cops 'n' Robbers

The Saturday night slot on BBC4 once filled by the Danish noir The Killing has in recent weeks been given over to another foreign language cop show - this time the French Spiral.  In its stark exploration of the French judicial system, and its cops who'll do anything to get a confession, it's certainly as dark as The Killing.  It was less immediately compelling than the Danish show, but more consistent in its footing (it didn't leave a slew of loose endings or mar the conclusion).  The acting was impeccable, especially Catherine Proust as unwashed obsessive Inspector Berthaud and  Thierry Godard as the incorruptible prosecutor Roban.  There was very little in the way of happy endings, but this was powerful and compelling drama that, once again, made me wish British TV could offer something similar.

The opening episode of the much-touted The Shadow Line, starring Chiwitel Ejiofor and Christopher Eccleston, did not immediately camp out in the same territory.  The cast is top-notch, but the brooding and portentous tone of the first hour, underpinned by stilted dialogue and almost palpable desire for noir cool, was not a sure-footed debut.  It was like Luther, but without the overacting which, perversely, saved the Idris Elba  vehicle.  I'll stick with it, but with expectations suitably muted.


Alis said...

Gosh you're a tough critic - I was thinking how good The Shadow Line was! But then I've not seen The Killing or The Spiral. I can see some iPlayer time coming up.

Tim Stretton said...

I think I was set up for scepticism by claims that it was the British riposte to The Wire. And Eccleston is admittedly brilliant.

I thought Spiral took its time to get going too, so all is not lost. The Killing grips from the start, but be warned, at least two MNWers were dissatisfied with the ending!

Alis said...

I have to admit, my son and I did both compare it to The Wire, but you're right, it somehow lacks the total assurance and sure-footedness that The Wire had right from episode 1.