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Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind
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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.]]>
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
- Aspect Ratio : 1.78:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.75 x 5.75 x 0.53 inches; 4 Ounces
- Item model number : 5075012
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC
- Run time : 4 hours and 30 minutes
- Release date : June 2, 2009
- Actors : Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hiddleston, Sarah Smart
- Subtitles: : English
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Unqualified
- Studio : BBC Video
- ASIN : B001VLBDB2
- Writers : Henning Mankell
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #67,740 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Plots are tight and timely. We do see the toll that this type of job must take on the investigators and the effects that it has on their daily functions. No easy villains and you must pay attention to the story or you are sure to miss somethings.
I enjoyed the entire series and although some people have slagged the later works, I think that they were done knowing the arc of the story. (no spoilers)
It's a kick to watch Kenneth Branagh - one of the world's truly outstanding Shakespearean actors - transform from a hyperverbal practitioner of literature's best known soliloquies to a monosyllabic, stammering mope. He's put on weight for the role, doesn't shave, does nothing to hide facial outbreaks on his face, wears rumpled clothing 24x7, drinks too much wine, sleeps in chairs and wakes up fully clothed with crevices on his face from the armrest. It's quite an acting achievement.
Season 1 - and the two to-date that follow - are adapted directly from Henning Mankell's novels. [Branagh says Mankell's a fan of the productions.] What's good is that having now got up to speed on the nine productions so far, we can double-down and take on the Swedish TV series featuring Krister Henriksson. That work featured new material by Mankell: a screenplay he wrote to kick off the series followed by plot assistance from the author for the episodes that followed. [There was also an earlier film series in Swedish featuring Rolf Lassgård as the lead. The Branagh series matches up with those.]
You really can't comment on this series without noting the quirkiest aspect of the adaptation: despite being in English, the show is still based in Ystad, Sweden. These most British of actors (other notables are Saskia Reeves, Tom Hiddleston) are solving Swedish crimes, living Swedish lives, perusing Swedish documents. There's the hilarious little artifice of Branagh's character reading a document or sign in Swedish, so he has to read out loud in English so that we, the audience, can understand what his character is seeing. [No subtitles here.] It's not meant to be funny, but it brings a laugh every time the filmmakers are forced to resort to it. Still, great stuff all around.
I like, no make that love, all of these books. There is something about his slightly flawed character, and his dogged determination that intrigues me. By all means, watch this series as an alternative to reading the books.
Unfortunately, all of this Brit made series was made from the books, there are no new scripts, yet.
Top reviews from other countries
Thoroughly recommended, especially if you are new to the series.
Scenery, atmosphere & colour superb - lots of mumbling - sub-titles help.
Very watchable with some fine support performances to supplement "on the edge" Brannagh.
Enjoyable and highly recommended - hope there are more to come.
Very glad I bought it !!