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Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind
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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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"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the worst $25 I've ever spent at Amazon, and the worst detective-mystery series I've ever watched! It was an annoying, irritating waste of time to slog through. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The Wallander series is fantastic, with great set design and moody themes and always an excellent performance from Kenneth Branagh. Worth viewing more than once. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MarthaP
Wonderful writing for a detective series. I now have made my way through the final season and have enjoyed each show completely.Published 1 month ago by earring queen
Not like the Wallander of the books. I've read most of Mankell and this DVD doesn't depict the real Wallander. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ribbaz