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Hinterland (Y Gwyll) [DVD] [2013]
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
HINTERLAND, 2013. Series 1. This is a BBC Wales four-part crime drama television series set and largely filmed in the bleakly beautiful coastal town of Aberystwyth, Wales. Against backdrops of the city, mountainous terrain with remote close-knit villages, a seascape of windswept coastland, sand dunes. And the moors, which function as the badlands of the hinterland. The gritty noir police procedural that has been compared to BROADCHURCH and THE FALL stars Richard Harrington, (LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD), as the intense and troubled DCI Tom Mathias, another flawed hero for our times.

What WALLANDER is to Sweden, and THE KILLING is to Denmark, HINTERLAND is to Wales: dark harrowing detective drama boasting compelling characters and suspenseful, multi-layered stories. Harrington’s DCI Tom Mathias is a brilliant, brooding loner, now on the run from his past after ten years with London’s Metropolitan Police. Mali Harries (FOYLE’S WAR) is smart, hard-working DI Mared Rhys, a local girl who knows her land and people. The boxed set contains four feature-length episodes on two DVDs, running about 398 minutes. Interestingly enough, it was originally filmed in both English and Welsh. Even the English-speaking—heavily-Welsh accented-- version includes some Welsh dialog. Coarse language, nudity and violence make it for mature audiences only, please. It’s in widescreen, series 2 is in production.

The episodes are:
Disc 1, Episode 1, Devils Bridge.
DCI Mathias arrives in Aberystwyth, begins to settle into his lonesome seaside caravan when he's called to a blood-spattered house. It seems clear that the 64-year-old woman who lived there was brutally attacked, lost so much blood she must have died, but her body is not there. The investigation leads to scenic Devils Bridge and its falls, and an inn, formerly a children's home with a cruel history.

Disc 2, Episode 2, Night Music.
A 69-year-old man is found bludgeoned to death at a remote farmhouse. To solve his mystery, Mathias must go back into local lore and piece together eerie photographs, a tale of World War II German prisoners of war, an old letter in German, murky land deals, an organization of professional men, and a love story that spans some 70 years.

Disc 3, Episode 3, Penwyllt.
In an isolated quarry lake in the hills above Aberystwyth, amateur divers find a young man’s body. Mathias is pulled into the complex web of a nearby close-knit mountain village. The case is complicated by an apparent suicide and a hermit ex-convict whose lonely life in a caravan is too close to the detective's for comfort.

Disc 4, Episode 4, The Girl in the Water.
In marshland, two teenage boys come upon the body of a lovely young woman in a scarlet dress. Mathias becomes emotionally involved with her mother; Rhys notices. A suspect takes matters into his own hands; a previous case comes back to haunt the detective.

The series is gorgeously filmed. It is superbly acted, even to the smallest parts, by actors who, unlike those in American cop shows, look like they live in the real world. There isn’t a single pretty boy or girl among them. (Though I couldn’t help wondering why the British police tolerated Mathias’s scruffy appearance.) The powerful production seems to have been originally written for the screen; it gives us engrossing, moving characters with opaque character arcs. The occasional use of Welsh lends to its sense of place; the unobtrusive but appropriate soundtrack adds to every scene. The main protagonists are multi-faceted. Viewers will want to know more about them, but the writers, at least in this first series, are keeping their secrets. We get only bits about what caused our protagonist Mathias to relocate to this land that time seems to have forgotten. I found it hard to believe that someone, somewhere – in Wales – was able to create a show like this, that I found so exciting I was completely gripped by it, and nearly an overwhelming emotional experience. Wow.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This is an interesting piece of work. Hinterland displays an admirable confidence with both the screenplay and cinematography. The pace of the narrative is slow and deliberate and the dialogue is authentically Ceredigion, a mixture of English and colloquial Welsh. Through the murder investigations of troubled DCI Tom Mathias we are exposed to the imagined underbelly of Aberystwyth and its hinterland. The programmes effectively convey a convincing sense of isolation and rural desperation, where the depth and pathos of the characters are empathetically portrayed. Feelings are intensified and grudges fester among the indigenous bilingual inhabitants while incomers are regarded with curiosity and suspicion, not least Tom Mathias himself. You get the sense that this stoic man is living on the edge, his emotions occasionally seeping to the surface, damaged but needing to cling on to the grim reality and routine of his job.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Hinterland- a remote region, a land beyond the coast.

Over the past year I have been reading several mystery/detective procedural novels based in Wales. The country filled with long desolate highways, curved roads, isolated villages and dark pasts. However, the people are engaging and full of history. Hinterland is a BBC Wales four-part television series set and largely filmed in the coastal town of Aberystwyth, Wales. Now, Netflix has 'Hinterland' to stream into your homes.

In this small town, comes a new DCI, Tom Mathias played by Richard Harrington. He fits into the landscape very well, dark and dour without a smile. He has a past history, but we are not to learn about it in this series. He lives in a mobile home on a vast area of land, and the home us as bleak as the man. His colleagues, Mali Harries plays DI Mared Rhys. She has beautiful eyes and knows this land as her own. If you have viewed several BBC series, I don't think you will have any difficulty with the accents. I was able to catch and understand every word.

For a small town, there are murders a plenty. Four episodes fill this series, and in each, the storyline will convince you to continue. The characters are all so well presented. No background, we learn as we go, so to speak. We learn DCI Mathias is an intelligent, excellent detective. He can also lead a group with expertise. His team is well rounded, learning to work together, and no one should be late. The murders are mysterious, and not for the faint of heart. Clever murderers, but the DCI is one step ahead of them. I have recently read that Series 2 has been commissioned.

Recommended. prisrob 09-02-14
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2014
One of the most compelling detective dramas I have seen in recent years! If you liked Broadchurch, Wallander or The Bridge, you'll love this. I am really hoping there will be a series 2!!!!!
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2014
The most stunning series that I have ever seen, either on television or the big screen! Desperately dark but so sensitively human - you are drawn in right from the start and feel that you have known these characters all your life. And not just the perfect locational setting but delivered in a style of cinematography that does more than portray each scene - it exactly leads your imagination so that you are right there in the story...
Congratulations and gratitude to the team who put this together - it deserves every award going..!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2015
GREAT SERIES GREAT CHARACTERS GREAT IF DARK MYSTERIES
BUT MOST IMPORTANT, BUY THE WELSH VERSION WITH ENGLISH SUBTITILES
In the hybrid version the voice is often overwhelmed by the excellent score and when that doesn't occur between speaking softly and the varied accents I couldn't catch 40 % of what was being said. In addition the welsh tongue with subtitles makes it a more immersive experience. Characters are interesting and series is generally very well cast especially the leads. Lots of subtext. Beautifully filmed an excellent additional character in the films is Wales itself, the scenery, starkly beautiful.Hope this series has a long run.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2014
I have only watched two of the four episodes but I have been very impressed with what I have seen. As other people have commented, the landscape is the real star of the series, beautiful but desolate. It makes a very welcome change to watch something without knowing a single actor/actress in the show, yet the acting is of a high standard. The story-lines are very well thought out and I have already checked to see if there will be another series (yes there will). It is set in a part of Wales that most of us probably know very little, if anything at all, about. To me, the use of the Welsh language just adds to the enjoyment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2014
Very enjoyable series. Had the feel of Nordic Noir televison (which I admit to be being a big fan of) but made a welcome change listening to Welsh. Found the use of both Welsh & English added to the atmosphere of the series. The bleak but beautiful scenic shots really took this series into a class of its own. Everything in fact had a deeply moody, almost mysterious feel. Really made you wonder what thoughts were going through the troubled unsmiling lead. Can't wait for the next series, but already thinking of rewatching the first series as I'm sure there is so much I have missed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2014
Hinterland is an excellent series, made with care and quality. Beautiful cinematography- the landscape is almost a character in itself. I found the wild and remote countryside captivating, and as one reviewer pointed out, although the locale may not be that removed, as part of the stories, it is perfect. The writing and plots were haunting to me- they stayed with me, especially the first episode. The Welsh language is so beautiful, that I've ordered the series in the Welsh version as well.

The acting is excellent-Richard Harrington brings something special to the portrayal of a policeman who is troubled by the horrific crimes he sees, and wears his feelings on his sleave. The way he reaches over to a distraught suspect during an interrogation and touches his arm, or tackles a grieving and angry father, but then holds him a moment is something I've never quite seen in a crime show from a policeman. The viewer feels his character has an empathy based on his own life experiences, and I am looking forward to learning more about Mathias's past. Supporting actors are also very good, and we see glimpses of the private life of the female colleague, played by Mali Harries. I hope viewers will learn more about her character in series two. She deftly plays a policewoman who has been passed over for promotion(perhaps) but is very much a team player. The Welsh actors involved in supporting roles are so good, so " of the place" I found myself forgetting that I was watching actors at work .

I can't believe that some reviewers thought the plots were slow or the acting wooden. I was on the edge of my seat with all the stories- they are suspenseful and well written. Hinterland is a unique show that doesn't' look away from how ordinary people commit extraordinary crimes, and how an ordinary DCI is actually quite special in his empathy and pathos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2014
as when we lived in Liverpool, and all the times I have returned home to visit. I use to always go to Wales. my Uncle had a caravan just outside Labberis Pass, not far from Snowdonia, we use it as a base. I loved Wales, all those beautiful hills to go walking, even done my sea training at Aberdovey outward bound school, in 1955. this is a great dvd. the acting is at its top. shows you what Wales is like in the winter, very very cold. looking forward to the next series. it is what you think Police are like. not like the America cop shows. real down to earth.
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