Kenneth Branagh plays Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in three new detective dramas based on the best-selling books by Henning Mankell - an international publishing phenomenon with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. Sidetracked, Firewall and One Step Behind follow Inspector Kurt Wallander – a disillusioned everyman – as he struggles against a rising tide of violence in the apparently sleepy backwaters in and around Ystad in beautiful Southern Sweden. Baffling crimes and seemingly motiveless murders are investigated by Wallander leading to surprising and shocking discoveries in these compelling films.
Extras: 'Who is Kurt Wallander?' 'Branagh’s Wallander' 'The Wallander Look' Branagh and Mankell Interview Audio Description Audio Navigation
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Smart, Sadie Shimmin, Tom Beard, Tom Hiddleston, Richard McCabe, David Warner, and Jeany Spark
Giving a rare and welcome television leading role to Kenneth Branagh, Wallander
is a Swedish detective who is brought to the screen in three 90 minute adventures. Based on the hugely popular novels by Henning Mankell, each of these is then collected together in this DVD set.
Branagh takes the title role, and he’s Wallander’s leading asset. His performance here is grumpy, downbeat and deliberately stuck, and he skillfully underplays his role. It’s a terrific performance from a very strong actor. Around him, mysterious and shocking crimes are taking place, and it’s his job to get to the bottom of them. He’s aided by a good, if unspectacular, supporting cast, although nods must go to Sarah Smart and Tom Hiddleston.
Filmed on location in Sweden, yet still more British in feel than you’d perhaps expect, Wallander nonetheless is intelligent, and at best gripping drama. It’s well made, too, with some stylish directional choices that may isolate some viewers, but do enhance the production. There’s clearly been a lot of thought and planning involved here, and it does pay dividends.
That said, Wallander is likely to be a divisive programme. It eschews quite a few of the conventions of the genre, instead playing things more downbeat than we’ve perhaps become accustomed to. Naturally, this is also what strengthens the programme. And, combined with Branagh in excellent form, there’s enough here to warrant further investigation. For at its best, Wallander is both brilliant, and a little bit different, and it’s very much worth checking out. --Jon Foster