Archive for January 4, 2010

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Kenneth Branagh’s version of Wallander returned to BBC1 last night, and I watched my recording earlier this evening.

I call this Branagh’s Wallander because he totally dominates the screen and also the action. The contrast with the Swedish series recently shown on BBC4 could not be greater.
I picked up a couple of pertinent tweets last night about the program; the first I think was by Crimeficreader.

‘Anyone else notice that they have a police team, but no one other than Wallander ever seems to do anything?’

That ‘tweety’ comment was spot on, and the action at times seemed quite ridiculous in that Wallander was doing the forensic work, the stake outs, the interviews, the press conference, and leading the investigation. Talk about overwork, no wonder he appeared to resign at the end.
Perhaps part of the problem is that the actors playing Martinsson and Anne-Brit Hoglund are just not strong enough personalities, they make unconvincing cops and therefore their characters are almost invisible.

The second ‘tweet’ stated that the production had been ‘de-Swedified’, and although we saw numerous beautifully staged shots of the Swedish countryside the very English dialogue seemed at times to jar.
Henning Mankell’s book Faceless Killers is about twenty years old, and I read it way back in 1997 so I can’t remember the plot details, or if new characters were inserted into this TV version. The book was certainly was a good example of crime writers being among the first to face up to certain long standing problems in society that politicians have yet to begin to address.

I will watch the rest of the series, but despite the brilliant cinematography and a virtuoso acting performance by Kenneth Branagh this series still comes in second to the dark drama of the Swedish version.