4.0 out of 5 stars Grumpy Detective Drives Around in Car, Solves Cases, June 14, 2009 By Stephanie DePue (Carolina Beach, NC USA) - See all my reviews (VINE VOICE) (TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME) This review is from: Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind (DVD) "Wallander," is a 2008 British Broadcasting Corporation production that is set in Sweden. The TV series, a British mystery/crime drama/thriller is based on the Wallander crime novels of Henning Mankel, Sweden's most popular author, nationally and internationally: it follows on the heels of two successful Swedish TV serials of the same material. The boxed DVD set released here comprises the same three episodes we saw on TV. Heavyweight British actor Kenneth Branagh (the Harry Potter movies,lots of Shakespeare, Dead Again,The Gingerbread Man), plays Kurt Wallander, Swedish cop. I was rather surprised to find such an actor playing a cop: perhaps he also produced this? At any rate, he turns in a good, intense performance, as a miserably lonely and unhappy human being and cop. He's well-supported by the rest of the cast. The veteran David Warner (Planet of the Apes (Special Edition); Tom Jones (1963)) plays his father, but only appears on one episode; Jeany Spark plays the detective's daughter Linda. The detective is ably supported at the station, by Sarah Smart as Anne-Britt Hoglund; Tom Beard as Svedberg; and Tom Hiddleston as Martinsson. It is rather odd that this production has been cast with British actors: they do a good job, but still, most of us will think, I believe, that there should have been more Swedish, or at least Scandinavian, actors cast. And we are left wondering whether all these people can speak Swenglish, as all the road signs, etc., are in Swedish, while the people in front of them are speaking English. And, while I'm on this subject, subtitles would have been helpful-- this is a new production, after all - as Branagh swallows his dialog. The serial, as the novels on which it is based, is set in Skane, Sweden, a beautiful, sparsely settled, rather rural and isolated part of the country, apparently. Many of the exteriors appear to have been filmed there, and they're lovely, and interesting to look at. Some of the interiors also look Swedish, but, of course, they might have been filmed on English sound stages. The episodes are: 1. Sidetracked. Wallander sees a young woman immolate herself; then a government minister is murdered and scalped. 2. Firewall. Eighteen year old Sonia admits to the vicious killing of a taxi driver, but tells Wallander "it doesn't matter any more." 3. One Step Behind. A party of teenagers are murdered as they picnic in the woods, wearing fancy dress. And Wallander eventually finds out a lot more about his colleague at the cop shop Svedberg than he wanted to know. The TV series "Wallander" bears many resemblances to the late, lamented British mystery TV series Inspector Morse - Complete Collection; which was based on the novels of Colin Dexter. So, I understand, do the novels on which "Wallander" is based, down to the detective's playing Mozart in his car, resemble Dexter's work. Grumpy detective drives around in car, solves cases. I found the cases to be rather complex, and interesting, though I must agree with other reviewers who found them a bit unlikely, and unwieldy. At any rate, I understand there's another series to come: subtitles, please, and maybe a few actual Scandinavian actors?
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