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Wallander [DVD] [2008]


Price: £10.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK. 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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001G3ENM6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,647 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

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

From Amazon.co.uk

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

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 Dec 2008
Format: DVD
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 By Kentspur VINE VOICE on 29 Jun 2009
Format: DVD
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Louise the book worm on 1 Jan 2009
Format: DVD
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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