Film notes and reviews » 2012/13 season » The Tunnel, November 2012

The Tunnel, November 2012

Germany 2001. Director Roland Suso Richter.

Certificate 12

Made for TV this 20 minute shorter version holds the attention like a vice despite its near three hour length. The story of organising a mass escape from behind the Wall in East Berlin is as meticulously told as the original escapees’ plans.

The leader of the group, Harry Melchior, is based on Hasso Herschel a swimming champion who escaped to the West and then set about bringing out his relatives and friends. The tunnel digging is actually engrossing as an engineering feat, but the tensions and empathy comes from the East Berlin scenes where the brutal Stasi are always closing on the plot to escape.

Uwe Kokisch as the dedicated colonel in charge of the police investigation steals the top acting honours from the charismatic Heino Ferch as Harry Melchior, but all the cast are brilliant.

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