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The Bridge – Season One (2011)

The Bridge DVD cover imageDirectors: Björn Stein, Charlotte Sieling
Writers: Björn Stein, Hans Rosenfeldt, Nikolai Scherfig and Måns Mårlind
Starring: Sofia Helm, Kim Bodnia
Certificate: 15
Running time: 580 minutes approx (10 episodes)
Release date: 21 May 2012

A grim, bleak crime thriller with a washed-out photographic palette to match, The Bridge was hyped as the first ever creative television collaboration between Denmark and Sweden, combining the talents of the Danish producers of TV successes The Killing and Borgen, and the Swedish team responsible for Wallander. It’s no surprise, then, that the plot takes place in both countries, with the Øresund Bridge that connects them playing a vital role.

Comprised of ten hour-long episodes, The Bridge begins in true Eurocrime style with a black-gloved hand on the steering wheel of a car. Next we see the lights go out on the massive suspension bridge that links Denmark and Sweden. A little while later a woman’s body is discovered, placed perfectly so that half of her lies in Denmark, and half in Sweden.

As a result, police officers from both countries become involved in the case, led by blonde Asperger’s sufferer Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) on the Swedish side, while laid-back, scruffier, recently vasectomised Martin Rohde heads up the Danish team. These two characters, in a classic ‘Odd Couple’ pairing, are what is going to provide the driving force that is going to get us through the next ten episodes as an increasingly complex plot is revealed that involves murder, media manipulation and a lot more that it would be unfair to reveal in this review. Very close to the beginning it’s revealed that the body that has been discovered is not a single woman but two halves, the lower part belonging to someone who disappeared over a year ago, and that’s just the start of the weird and elaborate plan that someone has been formulating for a very long time.

The pace lulls a bit in the middle, and the relenting grimness may be a bit much for some. The colourlessness of the setting helps everything to feel even bleaker. It looks as if the whole thing was shot in winter and even the interior design of people’s houses and workplaces feel like a showcase for Ikea minimalism but with all the colour washed out. Stick with it, though, because the last three episodes are absolutely cracking stuff and definitely the best crime show this reviewer has seen in ages. Definitely recommended, even if you’re not normally a fan of this sort of thing. Apparently The Bridge was a huge success and deservedly so. Filming of the second series begins in October 2012 and it will be interesting to see what the same creative team can come up with this time.

JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT

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2 comments

  1. Bob Lock

    Couldn’t agree more with you, John. A refreshing change from the mundane police thrillers that have bored the pants off me. From the haunting opening/closing music ‘Hollow Talk’ to the monotone colour of the scenery, it was leaps and bounds ahead of all that I’ve seen lately. I really liked the Saga character played by Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia playing Martin was a perfect counterpoint.
    Yes, it did slow down a bit in the middle and for me the reasoning behind the series of murders was a little bit of a let down but, all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it and hated having to wait a week for the next installment..
    I’m so glad they are doing a second season, can’t wait!
    Bob

  2. John L Probert

    Hi Bob!

    Thanks for that! I have to say I’m in two minds about a second series – the first was so good I do wonder if they can do something as good again (or better) but to be honest it was so well worked out that I’m just looking forward to something else from the same writers.

    JLP

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