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Wallander [DVD] [2008]

Kenneth Branagh , Sarah Smart    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
Price: 9.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Wallander [DVD] [2008] + Wallander - Series 2 [DVD] + Wallander - Series 3 [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Smart, Sadie Shimmin, Tom Beard, Tom Hiddleston
  • Format: PAL, Dolby, Digital Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 270 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001G3ENM6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,195 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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

Product Description

Starring Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander, a hard-working cop with a strong sense of integrity. Based in the small town of Ystad, Sweden, these compelling murder mysteries are based on the award-winning and phenomenally popular novels by Henning Mankell. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
These three 90-minute epiosdes may have been intended for TV but they are far, far better than many films produced for the big screen. The downbeat moods of Scandinavian detective fiction don't suit everyone -- full of doubt, disillusion and the sharp edge of despair -- but if you are an enthusiast of the genre then Wallander is a real treat.

It's a risk adapting such a well-established and much loved series of books, but Branagh (one of the series producers as well as the star) is obviously a fan of Henning Mankell's work. The adaptations are a gorgeous representation of the mood and character of the books, yet you don't need to have read any of them to enjoy the series.
Each 90-minute episode is a stand-alone tale of a Wallander investigation set in current day Sweden. They were filmed on location and the photography is breath-taking. Even the most mundane moments -- Wallander slumped on a sofa, for instance -- are caught in desaturated sepia tones, accentuating the drama of an seemingly insignificant moment. When the same techniques are used to show off the eternal daylight of the Scandinavian summer then the results are breath-taking. Almost every shot is a framed, still life artwork. You could watch it with the sound off, just to enjoy the visuals.

But that would be to miss some of the best screen acting of Branagh's career. His portrayal of Wallander, the 'poet detective' with a heart full of sadness and confusion, is marvellous. He can shift from uncertain to near tears in a single sustained shot -- the emotional transitions are sometimes so powerful that it's painful to watch. Yet when Wallander has a purpose he shrugs off that misery and moves with a determination which is unstoppable. It's a wonderful character performance.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and well-acted Scandanavian yarns 29 Jun 2009
By Kentspur VINE VOICE
A few reviewers of this series have surprised me in their criticisms of what was a well-constructed and, particularly, well-acted series.

To say the BBC Wallanders were 'not Swedish enough' seems a bit ridiculous. This is an English production. Going for more 'Swedish' might involve original language etc, also Henning Mankell - clearly - was going for an international appeal in the books; read 'The Man Who Smiled.'

Secondly castigating the adaptors for the outlandish plots while absolving the original books just doesn't work. Mankell's books are great on portraying Wallander - compelling car crash of a man - and existential gloom; plot-wise, often, weak. Firewall is particularly far-fetched and, naturally, the TV adaptation suffers as a result.

However Inspector Morse - mostly - had downright stupid plots; that doesn't mean to say it wasn't gripping TV and the Wallander's here aspire towards that standard. The production values are high and even in quite spare ninety minute films, the directors are allowed the odd establishing, swooping shots to lift this out of studio-bound cop fare.

The real reason to watch these is Kenneth Branagh. He is pitch perfect as the shambolic, troubled cop. He exudes charisma while making Mankell's depressive creation 'live.' The fact is Branagh is one of the best British actors aroun as he has shown in a variety of roles - Shackleton, Heydrich in 'Conspiracy', that dark arts teacher in the second Harry Potter. Luvvie nonsense aside, he can really act. The Wallander series - that rare beast, quality contemporary BBC drama - showcases that.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Yet more good drama from the BBC!
Branagh is VERY good here (I'm not a fan!), the stories are excellent & link well together, GREAT characters & the simply stunning scenery of Sweden add the icing!
Impressive, often minimalistic photography (none of that flashy CSI style nausea) and at times a journey into the heart of darkness; surprisingly violent at times but never gratuitous.
Wallander makes for a more believable 'cop with baggage' and the only one better at the moment is Ken Stott's excellent take as Rebus (come back soon!).
Real praise must go to David Warner as the title character's father fighting a losing battle against dementia. A great performance, never once descending into overt sentimentality.
A good year for the Beeb with Apparitions, Survivors, this, and the high standards still maintained in the likes of Casualty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Wallander fans 21 May 2009
Some Swedish friends are not so sure about a British Wallander but I found the interpretation very faithful to the Mankell stories and a good juxtaposition to the Swedish film versions. Kenneth Branagh gives a more complex performance allowing more emotional struggle than the Swedish actors allow. I enjoyed the ambivalence of the characterisation but it will depend on how committed you are to the Swedish stoicism. I recommend this version of the Wallander stories as a complement to the Swedish versions not as an alternative.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What I most love about the police/procedural/detective format is that it's a bit like the Great American Western: it's a completely elastic mould into which pretty much anything you want to say can be said, provided the ingredients are right. At their best, police shows give you memorable central characters, engrossing crime stories which comment on the nature of life. I don't know if this one has the staying power of some of the more populist shows - and perhaps it's a little too much like art, and not enough like the dreadful 'Midsomer Murders' and its ilk, to be widely popular - but I was gripped by this slow, sad show from the first episode and loved watching it.

I thought Kenneth Brannagh's face - older, worn, tired - was perfectly in tune with the tone of the whole. Brannagh's detective wanders wearily through his life and the crimes he helps resolve. The force of his charisma is centred on his eyes, which stare out bleakly on a world rendered bleak by the circumstances of his life and the way he sees it. The setting is a town in Sweden; the characters are Swedish - but for our purposes they speak English. I'm glad - it allows for a large cast of really excellent British actors to be at their best without dodgy accents or the distraction of subtitles.

I take other reviewers' points that this Sweden may not be quite, altogether 'Swedish', and that the books are different in tone. I haven't read them and came to this 'Wallander' without expectations or preconceptions, which is probably best. Perhaps the storylines are a tad contrived - but I enjoyed each episode as a thing in its own right - the studied look and feel of the place, the fact that nothing ever quite goes right for Wallander; I'd highly recommend this as a superior sort of detective drama along the lines of (but better than) 'Silent Witness' and somehow channelling the excellent French series 'Engrenages' (`Spiral').
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars English remake of Swedish series
Most interesting in comparison with the original. You lose nothing by seeing the original. Well acted. It would have been nice to see more character development. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jenifer Ehreth
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favourites
i have always rated kenneth branagh as an actor, and he is great in this. the stories are compelling, offering more than the normal "whodunnit". Read more
Published 22 months ago by sherborne
3.0 out of 5 stars Grumpy Detective Drives Around, Solves Crimes
"Wallander," is a 2008 British Broadcasting Corporation production that is set in Sweden. The TV series, a British mystery/crime drama/thriller is based on the Wallander crime... Read more
Published on 25 April 2012 by Stephanie De Pue
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid acting and beautiful cinamatography
As a fan of the original Swedish adaptations of Mankell's books, I was a bit dubious when I heard that there would be an English adaptation with Kenneth Branagh in the title role. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2011 by Flmfn
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark side of investigating
Already this series is being compared to other BBC productions. So I will also and say the there is a lot in common with Midsomer Murders (1997 TV series) that spends as much time... Read more
Published on 22 May 2010 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy and downbeat
I never saw these on TV and have never read Hankell so am catching up now with the box-set. And yes, it's good, but not brilliant, and doesn't break any of the so-called... Read more
Published on 3 April 2010 by Roman Clodia
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallender
Atmospheric. I like the feel that the story impinges on people's lives rather than feeling that people's lives are tweaked to fit in with the story.
Published on 30 Mar 2010 by Mia C
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallander
A great DVD a pity there is not more of them as it appears the Swedish have a lot mor episodes
Published on 22 Mar 2010 by D. A. ROWLAND
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality production
After watching series 2 on the BBC this winter, I had an urge to watch series 1 and was not disappointed. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by Marcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallander, Series 1 - Deep, moody, engrossing drama
Based on the best selling books by Henning Mankell, Kenneth Branagh's Wallander is the third on screen incarnation of the moody Swedish detective, and the first in English. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by Victor
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