49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
One has only to hear the violins thrum into action and see the aerial shots of (a virtually deserted) Sicily come into view to lay odds of 6-4 on that Montalbano will be taking his early morning dip in the Med before an urgent phone call propels our engaging police chief into another dastardly crime scene.
If you haven't discovered Montalbano yet, do give this quirky cop show a go. Just listening to the Italian is a joy even if you don't understand a word of the language and the English sub-titles are very clear and easy to read. If you're already a fan, you don't need me to tell you just how much fun this show is. Plots may sometimes be utterly preposterous but the acting, scenery, charm and atmosphere more than compensate.
Here, the familiar team is gathered once again - reliable Fazio, naughty Mimi, irresistible Catarella and irrepressible Dr Pasquale, the forensic pathologist (whose scenes with Montalbano are to be relished). As for the women, the irritating Livia is now no more than a voice at the end of the phone, thank goodness, but that mischievous Ingrid remains good value. As ever, the little courtesies of everyday life in Sicily are fascinating to observe and Montalbano himself remains the most courteous cop you could ever imagine.
Luca Zingaretti is a wonderful, natural actor and you really do feel for him as he ladles his pasta into the bowl only to have the poor guy's passion for food thwarted - once again - by the inevitable interruption of work. Business as usual for Il Commissario. Pleasure as always for us, the audience.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
While collection Three (2 Disc) is yet to be released, please forgive my presumption of creating a review for a product yet to be released! That said I have, like those us who watch BBC 4, and seen some of the episodes to be included in this latest offering I felt it was time for a review.
Our Inspector Salvo Montalbano, who works in the fictional town of "Vigàta", in the equally fictional district of "Montelusa" in Sicily. Where the Sun is bright and life treads at a different pace, amongst classic bleached white villages and towns that would look out of place in a tourist guide book. In this almost Mediterranean idle there is darkness, decay and at times murder.
He and the members of Vigata's small police force, namely Mimì Augello, Montalbano's second-in-charge, Fazio, Gallo, Galluzzo and the incredibly stupid yet very likeable Catarella, who mans the station's phones, among other minor tasks. While his whole team have suffered from his out bursts, and sometime strange management style he cares for them and in turn they are all very loyal to him, none more so than his `eternal' girlfriend of 8 plus years. Salvo is a foodie, with a passion, and he rarely permits anything to get between him and good meal, including other social commitments. He is also an avid swimmer; so much so, his apartment is set on the beach front, in his more melancholy moments he seems to find solace in swimming. While his girlfriend, Livia, has to compete with his detective work, however, in this latest instalment we seem to see less of her, mostly hearing her on the telephone, for Salvo suspects her of infidelity. This then leaves our Inspector with a strained relationship at best with Livia, and in this series he is more than distracted by the opposite sex.
Luca Zingaretti who plays the major role really brings the detective to life; his characterisation for me is spot on. His take on the character of Inspector Montalbano is very engaging you get a feel for the characters - honest, decency and his loyalty. In Salvo we see how he has his own way of doing things, this then can be at odds with his superiors, who regard him as something of loose cannon His case work always varied, and never what you would expect to happen happens - there are red herrings and misdirection!
In Salvo's work nothing is black and white; mainly his cases are in the grey zone. As one reviewer put it his cases do not have happy endings, while his investigations sometimes leads to organized crime, his stories rarely get totally focused on the Mafia rather they are part of the landscape and environment of where he works in and around.
Returning to Mimi Augello, who is the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Vigata, for a moment, a serial womaniser, he is married to one Beba, a young university student. Through the collusion of Montalbano they are married, their baby son will be imposed the same name Salvo Montalbano in honour of the patron. Mimi is good friend of our Inspector their interaction here, in these episodes, can at times be very funny and on occasion strained. Salvo cares deeply for his friend and will go to great lengths to save his friend from himself, male bonding Salvo style? Salvo is loyal and protective of his team in general, and without giving spoilers, this latest set of offerings will give more in-sight as his team are either challenged or threatened.
The last few years have seen a plethora of foreign detective series from around Europe each series of any real credit brings fresh cultural nuances, behaviour and identity of their own. After years of British and American detective series these shows, are like a new revelation. While some may hate subtitles I can assure you that to see and hear these shows as they were originally broadcast is always best and I find them all the more enjoyable. Very highly recommended!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2013
Exciting stories about crime detection in Sicily. The characters are well developed, and the background makes you want to visit the island. The dialogue is in Italian, but subtitles make the story easy to follow. Most enjoyable, and I am collecting the entire set.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
In our insatiable thirst for detective thrillers, foreign language productions have the benefit of introducing us to a different way of life in a setting which might well suggest the location of our next holiday.
In this case, the drama is set in the fictional Vigata, a quaint old stone-built town spreading over a hilly Sicilian coastline bathed in perpetual sunshine. Detective Montalbano occupies an elegant flat overlooking the Mediterranean where he can relax swimming at the end of each stressful episode.
We are introduced to a slow-paced (apart from the crimes, that is) way of life revolving round food - a man will put the enjoyment of a good meal before rushing to greet his lover - and the extended family, where relatives and workers gather on a sunny terrace to consume plentiful meals together.
Smartly turned out and astute, Montalbano somehow commands the respect of his staff despite the kind of volcanic outbursts which would have him sent on an anger management course in Britain. Like most detectives, he is on shaky terms with more senior officials, perhaps in part owing to his tendency to break the rules, but survives in his post, probably because he always seems to solve the crime in hand, usually through his ability to make deductions from very slim evidence.
The denouement is often unpredictable, partly because the very complicated plot tends to have a few twists which are hard to follow - and to be honest at times implausible. It's quite fast-moving, so with the sub-titles as an added constraint you have to concentrate.
Overall, it's worth watching as the characters are well-developed, the dialogue is amusing, the cases have intriguing aspects, and all does not end happily in every respect - there is a gritty undercurrent, say in the suffering of Tunisian immigrants in "The Snack Thief" or the continual hints at bribery and corruption amongst higher ranking officials, making the "honest" Montalbano a rarity.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I have reviewed this series elsewhere on Amazon and I have the utmost praise for it. I now have all 20 episodes of the original series on DVD as well as the recordings made during the original transmission spanning 2012/13 on UK television.
What makes this series so special for me is the beautiful island of Sicily where the series was filmed. Most of the locations are filmed 'on location' in the southern tip of the island where Montalbano's home is located, adjacent to the famous lighthouse. A few of the place names have been changed in the series but it is not difficult to locate them using Google Street View. I have spent many hours wandering around the streets of Sicily and it is unlike any other place I have ever visited. It is the strange mix of ancient Italian cities and towns in a modern context that treats the imagination to a spectacle found in very few places on Earth. Having watched the series I have acquired a yearning to visit the island myself one day.
on 2 April 2013
The Sicilian setting,the music and the leisurely pace of this detective series is a refreshing change from the usual examples of the genre. Mostly ,however, I love Montalbano's expressive face and his ways of relating to the other characters. He may not be handsome in the accepted sense but he has loads of charisma.
I also love the musical lilt of the Italian dialogue for which the subtitles are absolutely clear and you are given time to read them!
The series is not without humour and is never gratuitously violent.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2013
See heading, what more could you want? I try to watch in Italian, love the beautiful landscapes, buildings and towns and enjoy the puzzles in Camillieri's stories, whats not to like?