'Ioan Gruffudd's drama The Reunion looks fabulous, but it's too silly to thrill'



A high school reunion, a grisly murder, a missing girl, stunning scenery and a brooding leading man… all the elements of a top-notch thriller, right?

So you’d think. The Reunion, on ITV X, had about as much promise as a politician – lots of loud claims and zero delivery.

As one of the new streamer channel’s big January releases, with handsome villain-for-hire Ioan Gruffudd in the lead, this could have been brilliant. Instead, it’s a ridiculous, clichéd, frothy load of nonsense.

Gruffudd plays successful author Thomas Degalais, who receives an anonymous, threatening invite to a high school reunion at his elite French prep school.

What to do when someone scrawls “What did you do to her?” on a flyer? Hop on a plane immediately, of course.

A scene from ITVX drama The Reunion
ITVX show The Reunion centres around a 25th anniversary gathering at a posh prep school

Very “I know what you did 25 summers ago” vibes. Endless confusing flashbacks tell us that 25 years ago, Thomas was school mates with Maxime (Gregory Fitoussi), Fanny (Vahina Giocante) and Vinca (Ivanna Sakhno).

Vinca mysteriously vanished and the remaining three lost touch – until now. Also, there’s the slight issue of them killing a teacher and burying him in a wall – that is now due to be demolished.

The cartoony murder is revealed in flashback as Thomas smashes their teacher round the head with a golf club after Vinca says he got her pregnant.

Max finishes off the job with a knife in the head. It all seems like a bit of an overreaction.

In the present day, a local journalist with an interest in the cold case tells Thomas and Max: “I’ll be watching your every move!” Classic reunion greeting. They panic, but Thomas remains steadfast to Max. “No regrets! We killed the rapist! Stop the demolition!”

Ioan Gruffudd and Shemss Audat as Thomas and Manon in The Reunion on ITVX
Ioan Gruffudd and Shemss Audat as Thomas and Manon in The Reunion on ITVX

It gets even more bonkers. Thomas visits Vinca’s old room, only to discover obsessed Pauline, who has kept the room as a shrine and uses Vinca’s name to fight the patriarchy. She hits on Thomas, it’s very weird. Also Vinca and Pauline are played by the same actress.

In other weird casting decisions, Dervla Kirwan and Rupert Graves play Thomas’s parents, despite looking the same age as him. There’s more staring into space and pensive looking at old photos.

It’s hard to take any of it remotely seriously.

By the end of episode one, the reunion dinner has been gatecrashed by feminists dressed as Vinca, builders have pulled a body out of the wall and I’m wondering if I care about any of these characters.

The only solid performance here is the Riviera backdrop, but for that I’d rather watch A Place in the Sun.

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