One has only to hear the violins thrum into action and see the aerial shots of (a virtually deserted) Sicily come into view to lay odds of 6-4 on that Montalbano will be taking his early morning dip in the Med before an urgent phone call propels our engaging police chief into another dastardly crime scene.
If you haven't discovered Montalbano yet, do give this quirky cop show a go. Just listening to the Italian is a joy even if you don't understand a word of the language and the English sub-titles are very clear and easy to read. If you're already a fan, you don't need me to tell you just how much fun this show is. Plots may sometimes be utterly preposterous but the acting, scenery, charm and atmosphere more than compensate.
Here, the familiar team is gathered once again - reliable Fazio, naughty Mimi, irresistible Catarella and irrepressible Dr Pasquale, the forensic pathologist (whose scenes with Montalbano are to be relished). As for the women, the irritating Livia is now no more than a voice at the end of the phone, thank goodness, but that mischievous Ingrid remains good value. As ever, the little courtesies of everyday life in Sicily are fascinating to observe and Montalbano himself remains the most courteous cop you could ever imagine.
Luca Zingaretti is a wonderful, natural actor and you really do feel for him as he ladles his pasta into the bowl only to have the poor guy's passion for food thwarted - once again - by the inevitable interruption of work. Business as usual for Il Commissario. Pleasure as always for us, the audience.
While collection Three (2 Disc) is yet to be released, please forgive my presumption of creating a review for a product yet to be released! That said I have, like those us who watch BBC 4, and seen some of the episodes to be included in this latest offering I felt it was time for a review.
Our Inspector Salvo Montalbano, who works in the fictional town of "Vigàta", in the equally fictional district of "Montelusa" in 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.
Luca Zingaretti who plays the major role really brings the detective to life; his characterisation for me is 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. Salvo cares deeply for his friend and will go to great lengths to save his friend from himself, male bonding Salvo style? 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 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!
on 23 July 2013
I love the Montalbano series and my Saturday night joy is to sit and watch these DVDs. I love the scenery, the lead actor, the cheesy story lines, the humour, the wild sea and it all reminds me of a wonderful holiday in Sicily (without the murders!).