I am not, as a rule, a fan of crime dramas – but this was good.
It is a very dark Scandinavian thriller and felt – probably because it was set in Sweden – quite unlike the multitude of British equivalents. It’s based on the crime thriller by Swedish author Henning Mankell.
The storyline was dark, opening with detective Kurt Wallander (played by Kenneth Branagh) approaching a young and terrified woman in a rape field. She pours petrol over herself and sets herself on fire.
The main plot involves a series of murders – the victims being ‘scalped’. Very dark stuff as a web of prostitution, child abuse and government and police corruption are revealed.
The best bit was the cinematography itself – it had that vivid 1970s Fujifilm feel to it. Very intense colour rendition which really did add something – the blues and greens especially. Also, it’s set in southern Sweden (though it’s in English) and all the signs and visual text are in Swedish. That alone made it feel very different to a standard UK crime thriller.
Sweden just feels… quite different to the UK. Having been there myself for the first time earlier this year (to a conference) – it does having something about it I can’t quite put my finger on. I’d like to go back, for sure. There is a starkness about it (a bit like Scotland) that does pull you in.
Most of all this reminded me of the movie Se7en which was very dark and haunting – and which I always found gripping.
I’ll certainly be watching again next week. Decent 1.5 hour chunk of TV for a Saturday evening (there are three in total).
Overview of Wallander on the BBC
- Episode 1 – Sidetracked
- Episode 2 – Firewall
- Episode 3 – One Step Behind
- Episode 4 – Faceless Killers
- Episode 5 – The Man Who Smiled