Film #40: WALLANDER: SIDETRACKED / FIREWALL / ONE STEP BEHIND and WALLANDER: SERIES 2
Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind
3 out of 5 stars
Kenneth Branagh stars in this trio of feature length films from 2008 which aired on the BBC and were based on a series of books by Swedish crime writer, Henning Mankel. First off… the look of these films is AMAZING. Lush colors, beautiful framing & innovative use of the Red Digital Camera all make for some stunning visuals. Second… the stories, while interesting, are pretty much standard TV detective fare (more on that is a second). Third… Wallander is without a doubt the WORST detective on the planet. His solving his cases don’t hinge so much on his deductive reasoning or super mental skills, but more on the clues either falling into his lap or oftentimes quite literally hitting him upside the head. Branagh plays the sad-eyed sleuth well and brings more acting ability to the table the than material deserves, but in the end it’s the cases that make this franchise stumble. The series though is worth watching if only for the sumptuous visuals and Branagh’s performances.
Wallander Series 2
2 out of 5 stars
There is no denying that this BBC Mystery series LOOKS amazing. Shot on the RED camera, the colors here absolutely POP - deep blue skies & lush green fields just leap off the screen. And the directors of each 90 minute episode (of which there are 3) definitely know how to frame a shot. That all said, the scripts are simply boring. Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal as the Swedish sleuth is one-dimensional and, let’s be honest… he’s just not that good of a detective. He finds killers despite himself and clues pretty much walk up to him and tap him on the shoulder. Still, the whole damn thing LOOKS great. So, fans of beautifully constructed imagery and people who aren’t necessarily picky about their murder mysteries will probably enjoy this. All others need not apply.