I know Henning Mankell's crime fiction is very popular. I tried reading one book but could not get into it. Thought I'd try the DVDs. There is a Swedish Wallander series (SPL has them) and a British Wallander series with Kenneth Branaugh. This is the British series (3 episodes 90 minutes each) and I thought it was very good. Season 1 seems to involve seriously distressed teenagers but the crime stories were quite complex and surprising. The Wallander character continues to evolve as a police officer, a separated husband, a father. Looks like Branaugh and the BBC have continued the series - it is now up to season 4. Think I need to try the books again now that I have a sense of Ystad, Sweden on the south Sweden coast.
"These stories follow Kurt Wallander, a sensitive but brilliant detective ..." Kenneth Branagh forces himself to look sensitive, but it doesn't work.
I've watched the entire Swedish series and enjoyed being outside the English-speaking world. That series is personality driven rather than cops 'n robbers driven.
The BBC episodes are poor remakes of the original Swedish ones. The Swedish Kurt Wallander is painfully sensitive.
This Swedish based series successfully engrossed me -- it's not every day you come across a detective solving murders in a Volvo wagon with a comical ringtone on his cell phone... if nothing else the premise isn't ordinary. And Kenneth Branagh, to me, is the whole show. The supporting cast is just fluff. And I for one really like the "Nostalgia" song by Emily Barker used as the score. Perfectly melancholic.
The Beeb does it again, excellent, can't-stop-watching productions. We made the mistake of getting these before the first episodes, and we are now watching the first dvd, but it makes little difference really, you can figure it out. The episodes, and the crimes, and Wallander's brilliance are all great. If anything, this second series was a little more subtle (read "less violent") and developed Wallander's character and family circumstances over the greater focus on the crimes in the first series, but they are both very well done. If anything the Swedish context makes a nice change from the UK focus in other series, and gives a different cultural slant which is nice to see. If you like the BBC stuff and crime mysteries, get this series you will enjoy it.
Tom H - also on Netflix
When viewing other comments on this series, I wonder if we all saw the same thing?
I found this series very unbelievable. Poorly written and unexpectedly poor acting from Kenneth Branagh.
With so many outstanding British detective series, I would recommend you look elsewhere for entertainment.
As brilliant and outstanding as Season One. From the acting (especially the superb Kenneth Branagh), to the directing, the music (haunting and eerie), the scenery (mostly bleak and dreary), the dialogue and character development. And seems Hitchcockian in concept (a good thing, btw).
Not pretty to watch though; can be gruesome and despairing. Odd bit about the flies too, same as in Season One.
Deserves all the awards it has gotten.
With good reason, he is Sir Kenneth Branagh.
Amen to HarryBrowne comments. I want to add that i went into this with a bit of trepidation. I didn't have much hope for it and wasn't looking for anything so incredibly involved and wonderfully written. The scenery is amazing, but that is only a bonus to the juicy story lines
Outstanding BBC series based on the Swedish detective. Kenneth Branagh is superb as Wallander. World-weary, introspective and ever so human. Scenery is gorgeous, score is haunting and appropriate to the subject matter. Not drenched in sex and violence, it is bleak, dark and gloomy nevertheless. which is fitting for these dramas.
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