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Zen: Vendetta/ Cabal/ Ratking (2011)

Various , Various  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 2, 2011
  • Run Time: 266 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004XKVR3C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,573 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Premiering on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, the best-selling novels of Michael Dibdin come to life in these breathtaking new adaptations from PBS and the BBC. Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell, John Adams) is a formidable detective, but he's always put honesty before advancement. The arrival of clever and ambitious Tania (Caterina Murino, Casino Royale) to the team sees Zen's vigor reawakened. Driven by romance, re-energized and armed with a new confidence, Zen's investigations take him from crowded Rome to the spectacular Italian countryside, as he negotiates a complex string of murder cases, never afraid to question authority or use a few unorthodox methods to see justice done. Rufus Sewell brings passion, intrigue and humor to author Michael Dibdin's character in this series set against a visually rich backdrop of Rome at its most stunning.

Detective Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell) is scrupulously, almost helplessly honest--which, in the woefully corrupt bureaucracies of Rome, makes everyone think he's incompetent or perhaps a bit stupid. Zen saunters through his cases, not always ahead of things or even on the right track, yet blessed with a gift for landing on his feet when bloody events go down. In "Vendetta," the first episode in this TV series, he investigates a seemingly shut-and-closed case while being hunted himself by someone from a past he's forgotten; in "Cabal," the unveiling of a sinister conspiracy hinges on a safety deposit box and an alluring high-class escort; and in "Ratking," an opulently wealthy family grapples with a kidnapping with precarious political stakes. Throughout, higher authorities push and prod at Zen to come to a desired conclusion, while Zen himself steers towards a delicate romance with a lovely--and married--coworker, Tania Moretti (Italian actress Caterina Murino, Casino Royale). Zen delights the ear and the eye--the plots and dialogue are swift and skilled, while the locations in Rome are gorgeous. Sewell slouches around in tailored Italian suits looking like Marcello Mastraoianni's louche little brother, dissolute on the surface but with a gleam of rectitude in his heavy-lidded eyes. He plays his part with delicious understatement, gleaning sly humor where he can, sometimes playing his cards well and sometimes desperately flailing to catch up with events that have outstripped him. And Zen may have the sexiest theme music in decades. A well-made and informative making-of featurette rounds out this satisfying set. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty-Four Carat Rome! July 25, 2011
The BBC has struck it rich with this riveting detective series! Although I have not read the Michael Dibdin mysteries, and I therefore cannot say how faithful the series is to the books, I have spent nine memorable years in Rome, and I can assure viewers that as far as the locations and settings of Rome and its environs are concerned, "Zen" can be graded d'oro puro--pure gold.

The mostly British cast are at their usual best, and if the aristocratic English and slightly regional accents among the police detectives strikes an odd note at first (add to that mix the Italian accent of Caterina Murino), one soon becomes so absorbed in the story that the anomaly becomes unimportant. The mixture of British accents is analogous to what would be the mixture of university-educated detectives and the Italian version of police constables, a condition that would be lost with pseudo-Italian accents, no matter how well done, especially considering that Zen, convincingly acted by Rufus Sewell, is a Venetian. The sense of verisimilitude is maintained by extras shouting at each other every now and then in Italian (Rome is a very noisy city). The sound is especially good, down to the two-note police siren which goes flat by several keys with the doppler effect as the car passes by and heads off into the distance.

The carefully crafted plots of these crime stories hold political overtones, which, even though the books were written in the 'eighties and 'nineties, seem equally valid today, as little changes in a city where patronage and politics (and, unfortunately, the criminal underworld) have been walking hand-in-hand for over 2000 years--so long that the very boundaries between the spheres have become blurred.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Promising New Series from PBS July 18, 2011
ZEN debuted last night on PBS and if the opening episode is any indication of things to come, then we have a delightful summer delicacy on hand. The series takes place in Rome and features a detective known for his integrity, a Venetian by the name of Zen (Aurelio Zen) played with understated classy style by Rufus Sewell. Zen, who lives with his mother (Catherine Spaak) after his crumbled marriage is involved in defining the responsibility for some murders in the past which happen to mimic some recent murders - and in the complex process we discover that the Italian government wants to engage him on one side of the investigation while another somewhat shady source engages his for the opposite legal decision. There is plenty action and suspense and the uncovering of secrets about the house where the most recent murders took place - a mansion undermined with tunnels and caves and rapidly flowing rivers where a strange young girl Silvia (Cariddi Nardulli) hides from a society that has abused her. Zen perseveres in his intelligent search for facts, a search that happens to include some beautiful photography of the Italian countryside, a romantic interest in the form of the beautiful Tania (Caterina Morino) who is being pursued by the entire office of Zen's workplace, especially by one Vincenzo Fabri (Ed Stoppard), a team of bad buys out for vengeance against the police, and a host of other characters who suggest avenues this series may take.

The cast is sterling though for the most part unexplainably British in this Italian set drama (Stanley Townsend, Ben Miles, Francesco Quinn, Anthony Higgins, Garry Cooper, Adrian Schiller and Cosima Shaw) but the key to the success of this series is the solid work by Rufus Sewell. While the winter and spring shows rest, this series deserves summer attention. Grady Harp, July 11
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The latest detective featured in the BBC Masterpiece Mystery collection is Aurelio Zen as portrayed with laconic efficiency by underrated actor Rufus Sewell. Sewell has had a varied and interesting career, but oftentimes seems pigeonholed in films as the nefarious villain. It's nice to see Sewell take on television work (John Adams, Pillars of the Earth) that showcase a greater range and versatility--and "Zen" is perhaps his best role of recent years. Embodying a middle-aged, world weary sexiness--Detective Zen stands as a unique entity within the Italian police force. He is known for his integrity and incorruptibility, and in an interesting twist--this is both his greatest asset and his biggest liability. Getting assigned various high profile cases, Zen is also juggling departmental games, shady politics, and a new romantic entanglement. And it is this balance of elements, along with some larger governmental conspiracies and unnamed power players, that bring a refreshing depth to the more ordinary crime solving. The Season consists of only three episodes.

Vendetta: Things get rolling in perhaps the least solid episode (for me anyway). Character introductions vie for time with a plot line that has Zen investigating a case where an innocent man has been charged with multiple murders at a country estate. In addition, an assassin with a personal grudge is also on Zen's trail unbeknownst to the detective. Of course, these two elements will combine into one deadly showdown. It's fun enough, if a bit convenient. A large chunk of time is also spent developing Zen's romantic affair with a new office worker, and this detracted from the main action.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very well done. Clever.
Published 9 days ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I wish there were more...
Published 28 days ago by Book Peach
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Wish there were more of this. Very entertaining. Zen is a complex character
Published 1 month ago by Phoebe360
5.0 out of 5 stars did not continue such wonderful series, character development
A shame that, to my knowledge, did not continue such wonderful series, character development, set up, and story lines, all highly recomended
Published 2 months ago by Eduardo Vidargas
5.0 out of 5 stars Three movies from three books.
Left me wanting more.Very interesting British portrayal of Italian corruption set in a decent detective story.
Published 2 months ago by J. Ligon
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful show
Great movies at a great price
Published 3 months ago by Jem 727
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, sexy, chic and involving. WAY better than most.
SMART plots; SMART & sexy characters; SMART acting; SMART settings; SMART direction; SMART production -- Smart, sexy and chic and involving. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jane E. Etter
5.0 out of 5 stars When in Rome
If you like to watch mysteries as a kind of travelogue, this Zen series takes you to Rome and the Italian countryside. I like watching it for the scenery alone. Read more
Published 3 months ago by L. M. Keefer
5.0 out of 5 stars Well made TV drama, and looking forward to the ...
Well made TV drama,and looking forward to the next season.
Published 3 months ago by 45th_Johnny
5.0 out of 5 stars Comical in a way (man versus woman in a sort ...
Comical in a way (man versus woman in a sort of way but entertaining as well.
Published 3 months ago by Genny
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