Tag Archives: Crime drama

REVIEW The Tourist (S1 E1/6)

And so it beings.

Fresh after wrapping out 2021 (see our top 20 crime dramas of the year here), it’s back to it with BBC One’s big New Year series, The Tourist.

From the minds of Harry and Jack Williams you know it’ll be creative and interesting, and The Tourist is exactly that – a tense but sometimes funny and always intriguing thriller that wears its cinematic influences unashamedly on its sleeve.

It stars Jamie Dornan as a man driving across the stark Australian outback, singing along to the car stereo and, by the looks of it, not a care in the world. Until, that is, from out of nowhere a gigantic truck begins to follow him and then chase him down.

Remember we’re in the middle of hot, dusty nowhere here, so the sight of a truck hunting down a much smaller car is like seeing a lion take off after a gazelle. It’s very reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film, Duel.

It doesn’t end well for Dornan’s character, who is unceremoniously rammed into just when he think he’s escaped his pursuer. All the while, the (faceless) driver of the truck whistles Kim Carnes’ Bette Davis Eyes.

Dornan’s character finds himself in hospital, unable to remember his name, where he came from and how he got there.

We’re suddenly into prime noir territory here, and amnesiac’s in crime stories are interesting beasts. Because they know nothing, they are surrogates for us, the audience who also knows not what’s going to happen. So when the breadcrumbs begin to appear – and they do, soon enough – we find out new things at the same time as he does.

When it comes to the breadcrumbs, the amount to a piece of paper in his pocket with a time and an address on it. After he discharges himself from the hospital he goes to the rendezvous… and his life is threatened again.

Intercut with The Man’s search for identity and meaning is footage of a desperate man buried under the ground in what looked like some sort of barrel.

In terms of peripheral characters, we get Luci (Luci (played by Line of Duty‘s Shalom Brune-Franklin) who is a waitress at the location The Man he almost gets blown up at. She is later to be revealed to be what looks like his ex-partner, and yet she said nothing while he was in the restaurant and afterwards, when she helped him find a place to stay.

And then we meet – or at least he’s unmasked – ‘Billy’, the driver of the rig that slammed into The Man. He’s a perma-smiling, happy-whistling psychopath, dressed in black and western clothing. He’s also quite obviously pursuing The Man, for reasons currently unknown. He also reminds me of Anton Chigurh from the Coen brothers’ No Country For Old Men.

In fact, the whole thing reminds me of a Coen brothers’ movie. And, of course, that’s obviously no bad thing at all.

The final peripheral character is Helen Chambers (Danielle Macdonald), a probationary policewoman is absent-minded, low on confidence and genuinely lovable and funny. Assigned to handle what looks like a low-level case, she looks as though she’s going to become heavily involved. We’ve often seen this in Fargo – good, innocent people get dragged into a horrific, evil situation.

Add in some superb cinematic photography, and The Tourist is exactly the kind of thing that’s great for New Years’s day and Sunday night TV – a solid mystery, intriguing characters and, knowing Harry and Jack Williams, twists galore in the pipeline.

An excellent start to 2022.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4 out of 5.