Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kenneth Branagh's "Wallander"...A Great Show!

The other day we stumbled upon a BBC show called Wallander. It's a British re-boot of an original Swedish show based on a character of the same name in a series of novels written by Henning Mankell.

And it's fantastic!

At least, the British version is. I imagine the Swedish series is good as well, but I don't know. In what I can tell is a collaboration between Kenneth Branagh and several involved in the Swedish television industry this series is so well done. Watching it I'm reminded of why I enjoy dramas produced by the BBC. They're smart. They're engaging, and they are not afraid to allow the story to develop. 

An American television drama is about forty minutes long, sans commercials. The episodes of Wallander we've seen so far are at least ninety minutes without commercials. The commercials, I don't mind. If this series was on here I'd set aside two hours and sit through (or DVR and skip through the commercials at a later time...) this show. It's worth it.

Another plus is the cinematography. The show is set in the southern-most part of Sweden. I'm familiar with the landscape--it's basically the same as Denmark where I lived for a couple of years. But they take time to show you just how beautiful the country is. The close-ups and reactions of the talented actors is great as well. There was one scene where an older woman is being interviewed and she is being asked to think about a difficult time in her life. The shot must have lasted ten seconds and I loved every bit of it.

If I have a criticism it's that many of the women on the show don't necessarily look Swedish. I imagine many of the woman look like the Danes I lived with. I could be wrong, of course, and I realize most, if not all, of the principle actors are British. They just don't look Scandinavian to me, but even this minor point cannot dampen my enthusiasm for the show. Funny, but the men either look Swedish enough, or could pass as such. Maybe we're just sexist.

If you like slow, well-developed crime dramas and you haven't already heard of this one, give Wallander a try. I think you'll agree with me.

All screenshots used without permission from the Wallander series on BBC.

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