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Jamie Dornan amnesia thriller will stick in the memory


Being such a super-productive TV writing partnership, the resulting shows of brothers Harry and Jack Williams are almost inevitably uneven.

The first series of The Missing and Liar were engrossing TV thrillers, less so their recent Angela Black, while I found the back-to-front murder mystery Rellik largely incomprehensible. But their latest, The Tourist, could be among the siblings’ best work yet. I stress the “could be” because a lot can go wrong between promising set up and eventual denouement.

The opening was a steal from Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film Duel, in which Dennis Weaver’s motorist is pursued across the Mojave Desert by a homicidal (and unseen) truck driver. In this case we were in the Australian Outback, and the victimised motorist was played by Jamie Dornan (The Fall, Fifty Shades of Grey).

The truck eventually getting the better of him, Dornan’s character (henceforward known simply as “the Man”) came round in hospital having lost his memory. He spoke with Dornan’s Northern Irish accent, but what was he doing in Australia and why did someone want to kill him?

Luci (Shalon Brune-Franklin) and The Man (Jamie Dornan) in The Tourist (Photo: Two Brothers Pictures/Ian Routledge)

The neat simplicity of the premise was enhanced by the barren desert backdrop, while there was an attempt at a Coen brothers-style humour from the Williams brothers – a new direction in their thriller work, although they began their careers writing comedy.

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This levity arrived in the shape of the rookie cop played by Danielle Macdonald. More ambiguous was the character of Luci, played by Shalom Brune-Franklin – Line of Duty’s DC Chloe Bishop, no less – while Dornan was well cast as the man with no name.

The whole six episodes are available if you’re impatient for more because if Channel 4’s ludicrous recent Close to Me made you want to forget all about amnesia thrillers, The Tourist reminds you why they can also be memorably moreish.

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