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Wallander: Episodes 1-3
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
Format: DVD
We in the UK have been fortunate in that the BBC has broadcast all of the Kenneth Branagh,and Krister Henriksson,versions,and the later films featuring Rolf Lassgard.
Many of the contributors to the BBC message boards feel that KB's performance was way too theatrical,portaying Kurt Wallander as so angst ridden as to be OTT.
The Kenneth Branagh films are,to my mind,so centred on him that other characters,with the exception of Kurt's father,played by the excellent David Warner,become cardboard cutouts lacking any real depth,or impact.
The Krister Henriksson series is,for me,far superior.
Firstly,the screenplays,based on stories written by Henning Mankell,were subject to his final approval.
The plots are therefore intriguing,and generally lead into unexpected developments.
Secondly,the various actors are given ample opportunity to display their ability,and thus characters appear as fully rounded individuals.
Special mention must be given to the wonderful Johanna Sallstrom as Linda Wallander.Her performance in the final film of the first series is so real that one forgets she is acting.
The same is even more true for the superb Krister Henriksson,whose consistently understated performance as Kurt is a masterclass in acting.
This series is thoroughly recommended.
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139 of 155 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The wonderful, Basset Hound-faced Krister Henriksson, a great Swedish actor, is simply irresistible and irreplaceable as Inspector Kurt Wallander. Thus far by my count there are 26 episodes in which Henriksson has played Wallander, from 2005 to date. (I just saw his latest last night, but I can't recall the title.)

Created by author Henning Mankell (NO, this is not an alias for Diane Fossum!), Wallander is the epitomy of common day-to-day homicidal inspection in Sweden. Mankell has said the story is the vital thing--he uses events in Sweden for inspiration--the cops come in second place to the story.

Wallander as a character seems to be a raging controversy because Kenneth Brannagh deigned to play Wallander in an all-English-speaking series. The big fans of that series are rather pissed off about the original Swedish versions. WHY?

As for Britain/Brannagh, let me see if I can explain carefully, when it comes to foreign offerings:

Whenever someone comes along to do an English remake of something non-English, it automatically loses its cultural and ethnic contexts. Wallander is set in Sweden, with Swedes and their stories, showing the function of the Swedish police (in this case, the city of Ystad).

I don't think most people pay attention to how silly it looks for this world to be suddenly "translated" into English. When Americans or Brits do a remake, they usually "Anglicize" the story first, unless doing something historical. Yet the British version of Wallander is still "Swedish", set in modern Sweden, TRIES to take from Mankell's original stories, and for all those reasons, it fails.

And though I am a big fan of Brannagh, he is no Henriksson. So, if they had made, say, an ENGLISH Wallander set in London or Bristol or Coventry, I'd go for it, I'd love it because it would be based on the Swedish Wallander, pay due homage, and show us the equivalent information set in modern England. That would have been well worth the investment.

Henriksson is barely matched by Brannagh's silly, semi-confused portrayal. Here you will get all the good Swedish atmosphere (and GENUINE), the laid-back Swedish acting that is nonetheless so satisfying...and a good, sane approach to police forensics in Sweden. It seems we have such a hard time understanding policework in Europe, and I am especially taken by the weird attitudes I see in Sweden, Norway, Finland and France.

Wallander is a treat for me because I knew so many cops like him. He has his demons and pains, but he has a smart, calm and tricky demeanor as a homicide inspector. He lives, he enjoys his opera, coffee and aged whiskey, he loves his daughter Linda, who is also a cop. Though his theories are mostly put out there so he himself may discredit them, it beautifully shows him thinking aloud. No Poirot or Holmes magic tricks here...just meat-n-potatoes inspecting, the kind I know from my own life.

I'd say not to waste money on Brannagh. Get the real thing, and savor it, the way Swedes linger over coffee and snow--but learn to read subtitles at light speed, unless you know Swedish.

By the way, this set consists of episodes 1-3, with the next available set consisting of episodes 4-6. Stick to only these two sets. As far as I know, out of the 26 episodes, this is all you're going to get here. All the rest are in PAL region 2 format, available only for Britain apparently.

Oh, well, I thought they had Brannagh! In the U.S. we like the genuine stuff, and the real thing: Henriksson. As to buying, I won't budge on this until all 26-to-date episodes are availbale as a set on Amazon U.S.

By the bye, I have a treat in store for customers: I have just seen the actual DEN OROLIGE MANNEN (2013, "The Worried Man" a/k/a "The Troubled Man")--and I hereby give you a tiny preview of this 3rd season-premiere 90-minute episode:

Wallander is an alcoholic and BOY!!--does Henriksson act the hell out of the changes. He looks BAD. He doesn't shave and his clothes make him look homeless. Whereas he has battled a stomach ulcer and prostate cancer (they skipped the diabetes in the series unless it is an ordeal yet to come), here he has hit rock-bottom. They confiscate his gun, suspend him without pay and then he gets involved in his most vital case yet. Wait til you see THIS one!

;) That is all you get, unless you were lucky enough to catch it on cable's global mysteries channel!
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Charging $4.99 rental per episode is outrageous! I got Wallander, Season 2, from Netflix for free. All 13 episodes were free on streaming video. $165 to rent the season, per episode price, for Prime customer to watch on Amazon streaming video.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
A quick comment on Rev. Hernandez's review. I do find Hendriksson to be a fine Wallander, though not as good as Rolf Lassgård, who was featured in several cinema versions of the novels (only The White Lioness is available in English). Glad to see that the Swedish TV series will be sold as NTSC versions in the U.S. market. These episodes are written by a team of scriptwriters, not by Henning Mankell, but the early episodes in the series are faithful to Mankell's concept and Wallander's character.

At about $10 per episode, these are good value. Each is a mini-film. They sell for considerably more than that in the Swedish originals.

Of particular impact is Ola Rapace as the young policeman Stefan Lindman -- wiry, dark haired and intense, Ola is the husband of Noomi Rapace, who has made such an impact as Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish films based on Steig Larsson's hugely successful trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.).

Even more impressive is Johanna Sällström as Linda, Wallander's daughter. The series begins just as Linda has passed her exams at the Police Academy, and of course, Kurt gets the dates turned around and fails to be there for her. She arrives at her first assignment -- in the same police station in Ystaad, the setting for the Wallander novels. There's a lively, determined tug of wills between father and daughter throughout the first year. Unfortunately for all of us, Johanna Sällström took her own life after the first year of the series. Some commentators suggested that because of her suicide, Mankell gave up the notion of continuing the Wallander novels by concentrating on Linda as the young police protagonist.

The Wallander television series is now up to episode 45 and it has fallen away badly, as was probably inevitable. I rented episode 44 this past summer while studying in Sweden and found it centered on a couple of young police officers, male and female, with Hendricksson/Wallander as a distant, tired father figure.

I don't agree with the reviewer's dismissal of Branaugh. I found the casting appropriate and it seemed to me that the BBC series delivered a well-realized adaptation. I've purchased all six of the BBC/PBS series. As far as I'm concerned, the more Wallander, the better!

The Rev. Hernandez refers to 'den orolige mannen' -- that's the title of the final book in the Wallander series, published in Sweden earlier this year. After the ten-year pause, Mankell gives us a Wallander who has just passed 60 and is more melancholy than ever (the title in English will probably be 'The Troubled Man'). I would like to see any of those three actors in a cinema version of it.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Had I not seen the Wallender staring Kenneth Branagh, on PBS Masterpiece Theater I would not have discovered the original version. Despite subtitles, (which really means one has to pay attention),you will not have trouble staying focused. In the first minutes of The Frost, the viewer is given a glimps of just how beautiful sweden is and the next...Ka-Pow!!! As a mystery fan, I was simply rivided from beginning to end. The American or British versions are good, but I believe the Swedish vesion is better and worth watching. ENJOY!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Swedish Wallander surpasses the British version that plays on PBS Masterpiece Theatre. Each episode features a well-constructed mystery, a relation to social issues, and compelling characters. The central character of Wallander has more depth and richness and is someone we can watch change and grow from episode to episode. The real Swedish settings and supporting characters lend to the credibility and the drama.
"Before the Frost", as the first in the series, is one of the best.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
loved season 2 (mankell's); then watched one episode of the kenneth branaugh version of season one and didn't like it - wooden acting. didn't want to spend the money for the individual episodes of the mankell's 1st season, but was curious. enjoyed it very much; quite different from the 2d season, with the father/daughter relationship/conflict. however, not going to watch any more unless the whole season is offered - ridiculous to rent each episode at the price asked.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Krister Henriksson IS Wallander although Rolf Lassgard is also very good. Never liked the British ones.

But $4.99 per episode for the 1st season is outrageous. MHZnetwork has been showing them, but then you need to be able to get that network.

PLEASE Amazon, give us a break and lower the price. You will sell so many more if you would just charge the same as season 2.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
PBS introduced us to Kenneth Branaugh as Detective Wallander, the subject of Henning Mankell mysteries. I find this older series starring Krister Henrikkson equally good. The plots are pure Mankell bizarre and the cast might actually be better. Have no hesitation in collecting this series - great entertainment with Volvos running across the countryside, eccentric people, and less effort given to portraying tortured souls.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Henning Mankell is recognized as THE crime fiction go to writer in Sweden, for good reason because his plots are unique and engaging. I haven't seen the Kevin Brannaugh Wallanders yet, but after following a review suggesting these are better, I am far from disappointed. Wallander competes with Prime Suspect, The Wire, and just about any other crime fiction dramas you can come up with. Intelligent plot lines which keep you on edge without introducing unnecessary quirks, great character development which is believable + continues throughout the series, plus a sprinkling of bad-ass twisted baddies.... and the acting is spot-on! It's hard to ask for more. Apparently parts 14-26 are currently not available in U.S. format DVDs. I've seen 9 of the first 13 parts and look forward to an empty, hollow place when I've reached the end, but the getting there is such a satisfying ride. For those who like a view into other cultures mixed in with good stories... and especially for those who are at a loss after completing the hit Swedish movie/book "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy.
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