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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Harrowing Detective Drama Boasting Compelling Characters and Suspenseful Stories, 29 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Hinterland (Y Gwyll) [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
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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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Dec 2014 20:55:38 GMT
D. R. Jacks says:
I was becoming disheartened after reading reviews of Hinterland by Americans whining about needing subtitles but, after reading your informative and passionate words, I shall order this DVD straight away!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2014 22:54:06 GMT
D.R. Jacks, And I seem to have forgotten to mention that there were subtitles, else I'd have had problems myself with the Welsh. Just carried away, it seems. Thanks for taking time to stop by,

Posted on 2 Jun 2015 23:05:29 BDT
song_x says:
I could have said it all with the same words. A discovery. Landscape and music no background, but co-telling the stories, adding textures and perspectives.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 03:03:01 BDT
song_x, yes. Thanks for stopping by,

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 09:22:54 BDT
song_x says:
Song X aka Michael Engelbrecht, see

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 13:26:13 BDT
song_x, have you tried VERA?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 13:46:16 BDT
song_x says:
No, first time I hear about it - another crime series from the hinterland?:)

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 13:47:50 BDT
This one's set in Northeast, stars Brenda Blethyn, who is terrific; it's definitely female-headed, tho, depending if you've a taste for that,

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 14:14:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jun 2015 15:20:29 BDT
song_x says:
I'm a bit female-headed, too:)

13 Recommendations for long summer nights, armchair travelers, movie lovers and followers of brilliant new TV series

01) It! The Terror From Beyond Space (classic) - ***
02) The Train (classic) - ****1/2
03) '71 - **** (nftfoh)
04) It Follows - **** (nftfoh)
05) Ex Machina - ****1/2
06) Ray Donovan (season 1 & 2) - **** (nftfoh)
07) Hinterland (season 1) - ****
08) Whiplash - ****
09) A Most Violent Year - ****
10) Paper Moon (classic) - ****1/2
11) The Americans (season 1, 2 & 3) - **** 1/2 (nftfoh)
12) John from Cincinatti (surreal surfer series, cult value) - ****1/2
13) Banshee (season 1 & 2) - **** (nftfoh)

"A Most Violent Year" is a fantastic movie, a time travel to New York City, 1981 (the year Eno and Byrne created "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts", in Manhattan), shot with late 70´s vibes and colors, and, nevertheless, likewise oldfashioned and inventive. That´s saying a lot about a genre movie linked with gangster syndicates, archetypal anti-heroes from another era and the usual suspects from the old "New Hollywood". The gist of the matter: J.C. Chandor is really doing fine in creating a new skin for an old ceremony. At times with breathtakingly slow speed, packed with the devil in the details (beware of the soundtrack, sparse and subtle), and, one of the most thrilling chase-scenes since Cary Grant had been attacked by a small aeroplane in "North By Northwest". Chandor knows when it´s time to speed up. Pop corn fodder? Not at all, more of a descent into the underworld (in the psychic sense of the word). For example, within one single shocking second, you are transported from an overcrowded tube train to a deserted, ghost-like station (in the middle of NYC) - a good place to meet the inner demons.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2015 16:59:05 BDT
Oh my. Well, have recently seen/quite liked Ex Machina. Saw Paper Moon way back when. The Americans just didn't hold my interest, couldn't say why not. Aware of Ray Donovan and Banshee, have never watched. Never watched Treme, the Wire, Boardwalk, Veep, Breaking Bad, Mad Men (I lived thru the 60s, after all). My TV watching really quite limited. Dancing with the Stars. Game of Thrones. Downton Abbey. True Detectives. Sopranos, Luther, Scott & Bailey, Happy Valley. Whatever miserable excuses for British movies PBS currently showing, do like Death in Paradise. Lived in the UK for several years, early 70s, left me with a feel for London Weekend,
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