July 15, 2013

Serial Review: The Bridge US

Once again, the Danes and the Swedes have created a series the Americans couldn't wait to adapt for US audiences. Hey, normally, we hate this. But based on "The Killing", we were really looking forward to the US version of the Danish-Swedish series, "The Bridge". The premise in a nutshell: cross-border cooperation between law enforcement from two different countries. Crimes bring people together. Or, in bumpersticker: Bond with crimes.

So, we have El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, the Bridge of the Americas connecting the two cities, apathy on one side, ambition on the other and lots of dead bodies. The photography and editing is great, the locations duly bleak,  the actors promising.

But: One flaw (in our opinion a rather large one) is the handling of the female protagonist. Finger pointing and sign posts: "oh, she's bat shit crazy." "Oh, did you see what's in her drawer? Did you warn her partner she's crazy?" "Watch out, buckle your seatbelt. She drives like a crazy person." What will never be revealed, is that the character Sonya Cross has Aspergers Syndrome, a mild case of autism. So, the writers or the director or everybody feel the need to caracature her quirks in very unsubtle ways.

The same frantic approach applies to a lesser extent to Demian Bichir's Mexican cop, Marco Ruiz. They felt the need to throw all the backstory into this first episode. Mystery, hello? And seriously, the fact that Ms. Kruger, as a cop in El Paso, wears cashmere sweaters with button details on the sleeves drives us nuts. The closest cops come to cashmere is watching goats on National Geographic. The make-up: Ms. Kruger's make-up is oh so perfectly posh. We really hate unauthentic crap like that.

Diane Kruger is decent but not a great actress. She tends to ham it up, which worked fine in "Inglorious Basterds". But when you compare her Sonya Cross to Sofia Helin's Swedish cop, Sage Noren - which you have to do and especially since we just finished season one of the original Swedish version - it's like comparing a Sloppy Joe to a Swedish Meatball. One's messy and all over the place, the other one contained and plain.

"The Bridge" will remain on our watchlist because we think it does have potential and the first case is definitely gripping; shining a light on the ugliness of the whole immigration issue.

image of Diane Kruger as Detective Sonya Cross, El Paso Police from the series "The Bridge", on FX, Wednesdays from July 10th, 2013
The Bridge US can be seen in Europe on Sky, beginning July 18th, 2013
The series also available on itunes US store


N.Scott said...

Ooooo....this sounds good! I'm not really up to date on television shows, what without a television, but I really enjoyed the Henning Mankell made for tv series.

Swedish or US version. It' s a bit like choosing between the book and the movie. Maybe I'll check out The Killing, first.

Veronika said...

The Killing is AWESOME. Both versions. Seriously great. I can't say enough good things about both versions. So gripping, engaging, great women characters.

The Scandi version of The Bridge takes a bit drawing you in but also great. And I think the US version is still decent. I mean, I only saw the first episode and there definitely is potential.

Hope you are well! And nice to hear from you :)