|Le Treport, France, its funicular and cliffs.|
First heard during childhood in the original KING KONG, the word escarpment remains one of those bits of language that the imagination grasps with both hands. In geological terms, it is "a long, precipitous, clifflike ridge of land, rock, or the like." Its image and my memories of the word returned this week when we discovered and watched via instant Netflix a six-part French television mystery series called, in English, WITNESSES. The delight of the unexpected.
As with other series which share a similar darkness, namely THE KILLING, the British BROADCHURCH and WALLANDER, the geography seems to be a character in WITNESSES. Set in Le Treport, France, on the north coast, the town is surprisingly full of quirky features which were unknown to us and likely unfamiliar to most American audiences. The photography is much more cinematic than we are accustomed to on US television. Dialogue is spare (subtitled), tension is built and sustained with atmosphere, place and the actors' highly expressive faces. We would have liked more episodes but the producers wisely kept the number in single digits, before the suspense overcame us. No spoilers here, read any reviews with caution, hope for more projects from this skilled company.