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Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind

4.4 out of 5 stars 801 customer reviews

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Product Description

Wallander: Sidetracked, Firewall, One Step Behind (DVD)

Kenneth Branagh plays Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in three new crime dramas based on the best-selling books by Henning Mankell, an international publishing phenomenon with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. Sidetracked, Firewall, and One Step Behind follow Inspector Kurt Wallander - a disillusioned everyman - as he struggles against a rising tide of violence in the seemingly sleepy backwaters in and around Ystad in beautiful southern Sweden. Baffling crimes and apparently motiveless murders lead to surprising and shocking discoveries in these Swedish noir thrillers.

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Giving a rare and welcome television leading role to Kenneth Branagh, Wallander is about a Swedish detective who is brought to the screen in three 90-minute adventures based on the hugely popular novels by Henning Mankell. Branagh takes the title role, and he's Wallander's leading asset. His performance is grumpy and downbeat, and he skillfully underplays his role. It's a terrific performance from a very strong actor. Around him, mysterious and shocking crimes are taking place, and it's his job to get to the bottom of them. He's aided by a good, if unspectacular, supporting cast, although nods must go to Sarah Smart and Tom Hiddleston. Filmed on location in Sweden, yet still more British in feel than you'd perhaps expect, Wallander nonetheless is intelligent and at times gripping drama. It's well made, too, with some stylish directional choices that may isolate some viewers, but do enhance the production. There's clearly been a lot of thought and planning involved here, and it pays dividends. That said, Wallander is likely to be a divisive show. It eschews quite a few of the conventions of the genre, instead playing things more downbeat than we've become accustomed to. Naturally, this is also what strengthens it. And, combined with Branagh in excellent form, Wallander at its best is both brilliant, and a little bit different, and it's very much worth checking out. --Jon Foster

Special Features

Who is Kurt Wallander?Branagh's WallanderThe Wallander LookBranagh and Mankell interview

Product Details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hiddleston, Sarah Smart
  • Writers: Henning Mankell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009
  • Run Time: 270 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (801 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001VLBDB2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,689 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By HMS Warspite TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2009
Format: DVD
The Kurt Wallander novels, authored by Henning Mankell, are quite popular in Europe but rather less well known in the US. "Wallander-Series I" brings to television and DVD the dramatization of three of the novels. Wallander, portrayed by veteran and gifted Irish actor Kenneth Branagh, is a detective on the police force of the gritty seaside town of Ystad in Sweden. He is a borderline physical and psychological burnout case, who has lost his sense of detachment from his cases and takes everything far too personally. At the same time, he is a brillant sleuth with an ability to make intuitive connections between seemingly unrelated cases. Assisted by his staff and supported by a faithful daughter, he manfully plugs away at some rather unorthodox cases.

"Sidetracked" opens with a brilliantly staged scene in which Wallander fails to prevent a young woman from self-immolation in a sunlit field of flowers. He is also beset by a series of murders in the local art business, and by the health issues of his estranged father. Only Wallander can see the connections, which lead to a deadly sex ring and a surprising killer.

"Firewall" opens with the seemingly senseless murder of a taxi driver by two young women. As other bodies start to pile up, Wallander picks at a strange statement by one of the two young women, who escapes from police custody and then is herself horribly murdered. Wallander's persistance leads him to an unorthodox terrorist plot, and a betrayal by a friend.

"One Step Behind" involves Wallander in the deaths of several young persons who were connected with a midsummer's eve celebration. Additional deaths lead Wallander into a wider case in which the police seem constantly one step behind the killer or killers.
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Format: DVD
I have seen this DVD about 30 times! After reading all the Henning Mankell Wallander mysteries, I ordered it from Amazon UK and switched my computer to Region 2. Boy was it worth it. Fantastic actors and crew. The high quality of the production is unmatched. Branagh won several awards for this series already, both for acting and producing. They are set to create three more this summer, again based on the magnificent books by Henning Mankell. There are two DVDs in the box. One has show 1 and 2 on it. The other DVD has Show 3 and then a ton of wonderfully produced specials. These include a fantastic and long chat between Kenneth Branagh and Henning Mankell. Mankell is delighted with the series and you will be too!!
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Format: DVD
After The Inspecor Lynley series, this has already become my favorite installment of PBS's Masterpiece Mystery. Having heard about but not read the internationally successful mystery series from Henning Mankell, I come at this clean, so to speak, with no preconceptions of how Wallander is supposed to be, or how the mysteries unfold. While its origins may be Swedish, it very much has a British feel to the series featuring Kenneth Branagh, and a mood all its own. In short, it is quite fantastic.

Like many of the better installments on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery, there is an intelligence here, and a deliberate choice of substance over flash. It makes for mystery as much about the characters as the plot. The tone is somber, and Branagh gives a subtle performance of a detective throwing himself in his work, because he's numb from events in his private life. Wallander appears to almost sleepwalk through his life when we first get acquainted with him. He feels responsible for a young girl's horrific death in the opening moments of Sidetracked, which sets the tone for the series. The image of her setting herself on fire in a field haunts him and drives him to discover why.

Meanwhile, the director slowly shows Wallander's private life. He lives with his grown daughter, who basically takes care of him when he comes home because he's a mess. Emotionally frozen from events in his real life, picking up the phone at home is a big deal for him, because it is someone who knows him, rather than about work. He is an excellent detective, yet nearly paralyzed outside the lines which form that perimeter. Each installment is balanced by a riveting mystery and layers of Wallander's private life are slowly pealed away.
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I have not read the books, so I base my opinion on a comparison to other television programs in this genre. Although the story lines are quite similar to what one would expect from detective fiction, the subject matter is treated with far more depth of feeling. Story lines that might be predictable or corny in other shows feel more believable here. To the extent that the plots are as equally absurd as those in other cop shows, they serve as more of a backdrop, so that the real subject of the show is this main character guy who is just a wreck. Every episode is atmospheric, slow-paced, and heavy with brooding. The cinematography is fantastic.

Kenneth Branagh's portrayal of Wallander is a pleasure to watch because his performances are so nuanced, conveying a full range of emotion - you can see what the main character is thinking as events unfold. Wallander's life sucks. His father has Alzheimer's, his wife dumped him, his daughter resents him for never being available. He is drunk, obsessive, guilt-ridden, and anxious - some other reviewers have said "overwrought," but I feel this is what makes him an interesting character - the point of the series being not so much solving the standard crime-show mysteries, but riding along with Wallander through all of his tribulations and inner turmoil. Unlike in the typical cop shows, wherein the characters shrug off murders and wise-crack over the corpses they find, he is deeply affected by horrors he witnesses at his job, and seems perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I tend to like dramas that are gritty, arty, grim, bleak, depressing, moody, or in some other way emotionally true (if not factually believable, necessarily). I loved the show "The Wire," and I think this is of similar quality.
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