'Fortitude' [Blu ray]
(Michael Gambon, Stanley Tucci, Richard Dormer, Christopher Eccleston, et al / 4-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2015 / PBS)
Overview: Although surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape, Fortitude is one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime here. Until now. In such a close-knit community a murder touches everyone and the unsettling horror of this crime threatens the future of the town itself.
Blu ray Verdict: Well, as the tagline itself proclaims, "It's not just the cold that kills!" Very true, especially given that watching this show on a cold, Spring evening makes you want to smoother yourself in blankets too!
A town like Fortitude, located in the middle of nowhere, needs to thrive on something, and when one of its main sources of income shows sign of possible loss, the town now relies on another source of income; and this income that could be their hope for the future, comes under threat.
There are many interesting characters introduced quickly, perhaps too quickly, but enough to let you know you have no idea who is guilty of what, yet. However, the plot gives enough away to throw possible red herrings, and the end of the episode leaves you wanting more.
Yes, I know that's a rather quick summarization, but it's a bare bones truthful one too. But there's more to this incredibly-filmed show than meets the eye, of course. The large list of characters serve the story well, with Stanley Tucci being a particular highlight as the kind, but manipulative DCI Eugene Morton, who is sent over from the UK to investigate the murder. Michael Gambon also puts in a joyful performance as the dying and mournful Henry Tyson, while Richard Dormer plays the emotional and rock headed Sheriff of Fortitude.
Christopher Eccleston plays local biology researcher Professor Charlie Stoddart and as I mentioned above, Sofie Gråbøl plays the mayor of Fortitude, who trying to hang on as her vision of the town and its future crumble around her. There are many other character I would like to comment on (such as Darren Boyd's creepy resident, and Phoebe Nicholls as the no-nonsense local Doctor) and my one complaint about the series, and as eluded to above, is that the cast is so large that I fear some characters could be side-lined and even forgotten about.
In closing, some have praised its slow pace, but being that it comes from British heritage, shouldn't have been even a second thought for those watching. For that's who British crime unfolds - slowly. Ergo, 'Fortitude' is a slow-paced, well-made, involving, absorbing, evolving set of story lines - like 'Inspector Montalbano' or 'Wallander' - that features some inspiring lingering shots of dramatic monochrome scenery. Watch this show as soon as you can as you will not be let down, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and it comes with the Special Features of:
Over 30 Minutes of Bonus Content - Including Behind-The-Scenes Interviews with the Cast and Crew