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Set in and around Rome and based on the best-selling novels by the late Michael Dibdin, Rufus Sewell stars as the fictional Italian detective Aurelio Zen. Vendetta, Cabal & Ratking will feature many of the combined attractions of Italy and the Dibdin novels--thrilling investigations, fun, passion, warmth and beautiful people.
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Each episode is a stand-alone story based on Dibdin's early Zen books, and they benefit from Dibdin's careful character development and intriguing plots. The stories have been sympathetically adapted for the screen, keeping much of Zen's idiosyncratic behaviour and his delightfully dry wit. Although the crimes are often grim and the danger to Zen and his comrades is very real, these films incorporate a light, almost playful touch (especially as his office romance develops) which makes this series far less gruelling to watch than the recent Wallender adaptation.
Filmed in Rome, the camera work is very stylish, although not stylised. It makes the most of Rufus Sewell's good looks and his ability to wear a very sharp suit, and he perfectly portrays Zen's air of puzzlement when he has to deal with corrupt authority, the bureaucracy of the Italian police, the heavy hand of the Vatican, his wife who wants a divorce, office politics, gangsters with sawn-off shotguns, living with his mother, and seducing a beautiful secretary who has taken something of a shine to him. The first story, Vendetta, is not the strongest of the trio; Zen's artful talents come to the fore in Cabal, and Ratking is by far the best episode.
My only problem with these films is the somewhat weird attitude to local accents. The scripting is all English, and Zen speaks with a neutral accent.Read more ›
I can't believe the BBC are not continuing with this series - a huge mistake I feel and one that they should rethink pronto. What are we paying the licence fee for? This isn't just another male detective series; it will be remembered long after the likes of George Gently have faded into obscurity. It's not as if it didn't have viewers, it averaged over 5 million and everyone I know who saw it thought it was very good.
Come on, BBC, please rethink your decision and commission a second series! Support Zen by buying the DVD!
I confess I had never heard of Zen and so came to this as a dewey eyed virgin..
..It was a delight,filmed in and around Rome it had plenty of authentic atmosphere without becoming a travel promotion,developing story arcs - Zen's Affair/the Mysterious Cabal/Devious Political Machinations all wrapped up in interesting stories.
I found the first episode "Vendetta" the weakest and to start with Rufus Sewell's Zen a bit of a plank ! The first episode in anything tends to be the most difficult, but by the end I was well on board and appreciating the understated,wryly amusing Zen.
As said elsewhere I also found the use of British regional accents a bit disconcerting,after a while you get used to them but why do it in the first place ? OK you don't want it to sound lika da italiano ica-cream sales convention but .... By the way I had to laugh at the puzzled comments that two of the female leads had Italian accents - well thats because they are Italian !
I would strongly recomend watching the "making of world of Zen" feature (but only afterwards !) ,as good as an extra episode and the sheer joy of making Zen comes across very strongly..
If you like warm, intelligent,interesting crime drama then this is a Pizza to savour.....If you prefer cold greasy chips,well,back to Thorne.
Maybe I'm the only one, but I found the dialogue rather muffled and difficult to follow in the first part and I kept asking my partner "What did he say?" - not an attractive trait. I am not even remotely deaf.
On the second time of viewing I enjoyed it more having memorised all the Italian names and turned the volume up a few notches. Personally, I had no problem with the regional accents and can't really understand the complaints about that. Perhaps people would prefer to watch "Allo, Allo".
The stories get steadily better and the intrigue gradully builds. The cinematography is stunning and the Italian Tourist Board must be delighted.
It's such a pity the BBC have decided to cut it loose. Danny Cohen must be a twit. The stated reason was "there are too many male crime fighters on TV". 12 months later, there are still lots of male crime fighters on TV, but alas no Zen.
This series has plenty of strong, interesting female characters, so I don't quite see what the problem was. The hefty budget may have had more to do with it...
Rufus Sewell et al should feel proud of this work. - The dvd set has a a nice making-of featurette which was interesting too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whilst I have never read the books upon which this series was based, I have remained puzzled why the BBC only made a paltry 3 episodes. Read morePublished 19 days ago by S C V Abrahams
Intelligent, witty, sexy, stylish and subtle; a superb mini series with Rufus Sewell playing the title role to perfection. Read morePublished 4 months ago by BikerBookworm
Slow start but it rapidly improves. Sewell is at his suave best and Murino positively smoulders. Personally I had no problem with most of the cast retaining their english accents... Read morePublished 4 months ago by JSR