(Kenneth Branagh, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / BBC Home Video)
Overview: The award-winning drama returns with Kenneth Branagh as Wallander in the next set of thrilling tales set in the beautiful landscape of southern Sweden! Based on the novels by Henning Mankell, these stories follow Kurt Wallander, a sensitive but brilliant detective – a man who takes each murder case he works on personally and will stop at nothing in his search for the truth, even at the expense of his health and his family life.
DVD Verdict: ‘Faceless Killers’ - Opening at a pub scene, with Wallander at a table with his daughter and her ‘foreign’ boyfriend, Wallander is given some diabetes info by him - for he is a doctor. Wallander still can’t figure out why his daughter is dating a ‘foreigner,’ but as it turns out, it propels the storyline no end!
An old couple are eating supper when some masked intruders break in, rob them, beat them, and end up killing them both. The ongoing parody isn’t (and shouldn’t be) lost re: the loneliness between the old, white house stuck alone out in the fields, and to his father, lost and wandering along the road.
A possible connection to the migrant workers runs rampant throughout this whole episode and as much as it is what controls the plot, it overshadows it too come the end. And that ending is good, a twist for sure, but it also leaves a rather profound message behind too.
‘The Man Who Smiled’ - An eerie start to this one. Wallander is on leave and planning to resign following the events of the previous episode. Away from his job for months now, living at his beach house, alone, save for his housekeeper a friend comes to ask his help. But Wallander refuses him - not wanting to get back into detective work again.
But when his friend ends up dead a day later, well, Wallander has no choice but to start to get his detective skills warmed up again - and so goes back to the station. Not exactly welcomed back by one and all, he is not exactly on the ball either, his mind split in many different directions due his father’s death. The ending is slightly predictable, but nice.
‘The Fifth Woman’ - The last in this series has a very dark beginning, literally, as the cinematography is so bleak, so charcoal gray. We first see Wallander moving his father from the hospital, whilst at the same time having a case dropped in his lap! Then, as if he didn’t have enough on his mind, he gets another case dropped into his lap - but, are they connected?
Unfortunately, he father passes soon thereafter, in a very sad scene, and as the story kinda gets bogged down in Wallander trying to work, and yet half his mind is on his father, characters come and go that don’t seem to have any grip on the plot.
That said, it’s always great to see the British actor, Dudley Sutton (aka Tinker Dill from ‘Lovejoy’), who comes in with a third of the episode left and takes over! The ending is well thought out, well acted, and very neat.
But where Wallander found himself at the start of episode two, before stumbling his way through to this last episode of the series, well, it’s hard to see how any more of this wonderful series can be created. Wallander is broken, is down and out, is darker, grayer than the scenery he acts in front of. [RT] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Being Kurt Wallander