I think I may have found my next detective series on Netflix, which is good what with me being almost finished with the Jesse Stone movies.
I am turning to Wallander, the BBC series, which is based on a collection of Swedish novels by Henning Mankell. Adapted from the Swedish TV series that the novels inspired, the British adaptation stars the immensely talented Kenneth Branagh as police inspector Kurt Wallander in the small city of Ystad, Sweden.
Wallander is a bit grizzled in appearance, has a strained relationship with both his daughter (Jeany Spark) and his father (David Warner). He’s good at what he does, but it also has a profound effect on him, almost to the point that he is ready to give up his career.
The film opens with a spectacularly sequence – a gorgeous field of yellow flowers, and a young woman running through it, carrying something in her hand. The farmer who owns the field calls in the police, unsure of how to handle the situation, let alone get close enough to talk to her, and Wallander arrives.
As he approaches the girl, and identifies himself as a police officer, she lifts the item, and we see it’s a canister of gasoline with which she doused herself, and lights herself aflame, a red bloom of flame racing skyward amongst all the yellow.
And with that, we are plunged into a mystery, filled with gruesome ritualistic murders, fraud, white-collar crime, art theft, government, prostitution, domestic violence and abuse and dirty cops.
Branagh bring a vulnerability to his performance that shows in his eyes, as his character attempts to deal with the brutal and growing murders, and the realization that his father is ill.
Tom Hiddleston (directed by Branagh in Thor) appears as one of Wallander’s colleagues, Martinsson and this may very well be where Branagh decided to cast him as Loki.
I like how the mystery is framed, and written, all the answers are there, as long as you pay attention to it. I had a dawning realization of who it was just minutes before Wallander, so I knew by that point I was quite involved in the story.
And I happily have 8 more episodes to get through.
Much like the BBC’s wonderfully updated Sherlock, each season is 3 episodes long, each one running 90 minutes, and if the rest of the series is up to the caliber of the first episode, then that will be time well spent in my book.
The cinematography, filmed on location in Sweden, is lovely, the acting is top-notch (it is Branagh after all), the story is involving, and full of twists, turns, and revelations.
I will be happily settling in for the rest of the series…
Have you seen it?
Or have you seen the original or read the books?