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Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking (Blu-ray)

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.

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • 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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004XKVQKQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,973 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on July 25, 2011
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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