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In the Beginning
on 24 May 2012
Rolf Lassgard was the first to play Henning Mankell's now famous Swedish detective.
The problem for these programmes is that they may have been first but they come limping in quite some time after the release dates for Kenneth Brannagh & Krister Henriksson's versions.
Do we really need a third version released?
Well I have to admit I am really pleased to see this boxed set appear. I know there may be some chronology issues with the episodes but it's the interpretation that really matters here & I have to say Lassgard really did make his own mark on Wallander.
In complete contrast to Brannagh's intense, almost constantly tearful & Henriksson's emotionally stunted performances it's great to have Lassgard bumbling around as a, seemingly, bit of a dozy oaf who upsets people with his brash words and yet remains constantly likeable.
Far more savvy than anyone gives him credit for he seem's to sniff out the facts bloodhound like while ambling hopelessly around his personal relationships. A failed partnership with a work colleague becomes fraught with misery for them both as he fumbles the break up.
The cases are as interesting & grim as ever & the support acting of a high standard.
Not quite as relentlessly grim as the later versions and with a little humour thrown in. Lassgard really did lend something almost childlike & very likeable to Wallander while right from the off production values were as high as the detectives fans have come to expect.
If you've not tried any Wallander's at all then you have a good choice. Kenneth Branagh makes a surprisingly good version with the added bonus of no subtitles for those who don't like them while Krister Henriksson is quite simply brilliant in his role, particularly the first series supporeed by a very good Johanna Salstrom.
Lasgard is perhaps for those who love the stories & want yet another angle or who simply love a good detective yarn well told.
Possibly not a first choice then but a really good version nonetheless & well worth a look & repeated viewings.