Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Montalbano is balancing act between the demands of his superiors and the realities of local crime and life in general, 2 July 2013
This review is from: Inspector Montalbano: Collection Five [DVD] (DVD)
Our Inspector Salvo Montalbano, who works in the fictional town of "Vigàta", in the equally fictional district of "Montelusa" on the island of Sicily. Where the Sun is bright and life treads at a different pace, amongst classic bleached white villages and towns that would look out of place in a tourist guide book. In this almost Mediterranean idle there is darkness, decay and at times murder.

He and the members of Vigata's small police force, namely Mimì Augello, Montalbano's second-in-charge, Fazio, Gallo, Galluzzo and the incredibly stupid yet very likeable Catarella, who mans the station's phones, among other minor tasks. While his whole team have suffered from his out bursts, and sometime strange management style he cares for them and in turn they are all very loyal to him, none more so than his `eternal' girlfriend of 8 plus years. Salvo is a foodie, with a passion, and he rarely permits anything to get between him and good meal, including other social commitments. He is also an avid swimmer; so much so, his apartment is set on the beach front, in his more melancholy moments he seems to find solace in swimming. While his girlfriend, Livia, has to compete with his detective work, however, in this latest instalment we seem to see less of her, mostly hearing her on the telephone, for Salvo suspects her of infidelity. This then leaves our Inspector with a strained relationship at best with Livia, and in this series he is more than distracted by the opposite sex and his own fidelity is challenged.

Luca Zingaretti who plays the major role really brings the detective to life; his characterisation for are me spot on. His take on the character of Inspector Montalbano is very engaging you get a feel for the characters' - honest, decency and his loyalty. In Salvo we see how he has his own way of doing things, this then can be at odds with his superiors, who regard him as something of loose cannon His case work always varied, and never what you would expect to happen happens - there are red herrings and misdirection!
In Salvo's work nothing is black and white; mainly his cases are in the grey zone. As one reviewer put it his cases do not have happy endings, while his investigations sometimes leads to organized crime, his stories rarely get totally focused on the Mafia rather they are part of the landscape and environment of where he works in and around.

Returning to Mimi Augello, who is the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Vigata, for a moment, a serial womaniser, he is married to one Beba, a young university student. Through the collusion of Montalbano they are married, their baby son will be imposed the same name Salvo Montalbano in honour of the patron. Mimi is good friend of our Inspector their interaction here, in these episodes, can at times be very funny and on occasion strained. The strain really shows and although Salvo cares deeply for his friend and will go to great lengths to save his friend from himself, maybe his friend has gone too far? Salvo is loyal and protective of his team in general, and without giving spoilers, this latest set of offerings will give more in-sight as his team are either challenged or threatened. The threat and violence is closer to home than at any other time in these dramas - as we see when a close member of his goes missing and some think him dead.

The last few years have seen a plethora of foreign detective series from around Europe each series of any real credit brings fresh cultural nuances, behaviour and identity of their own. After years of British and American detective series these shows, are like a new revelation. While some may hate subtitles I can assure you that to see and hear these shows as they were originally broadcast is always best and I find them all the more enjoyable. Very highly recommended!
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