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Zen and the art of policing and politics,
This review is from: Zen [DVD] (DVD)
Roman police detective Aurelio Zen is handsome, quietly charismatic, and good at his job. Despite which neither his professional nor personal life appears to be going anywhere. Advancement at work s held back by his "outsider" status (he is a Venetian, as we are told several times, perhaps in case we thought the name meant he was Japanese) and has a "regrettable" reputation for honesty, not a good thing in an environment where politics and corruption flourish. And he's pushing 40, separated from his wife, and back living with his mother. However things are about to change...
In these cases we see Zen forced to take on major and politically sensitive cases and, helped by the occasional convenient coincidence or other plot development, dealing with them successfully in both professional and political terms. Indeed for a man above the dirt of the ever-present politics he manages to play his subtle and devious would-be manipulators very well. And his private life takes a turn for the better too.
The cases are suitably complicated, and the viewer has to pay close attention not to miss anything. They are acted out against a backdrop of gorgeous countryside and atmospheric town locales, enhanced by the way the makers resisted to temptation to put a well-known Roman landmark into every scene. The Italian atmosphere is enhanced by the way people dress (it seems Roman detectives don't do crumpled) and live (nor do they do lunchtime sandwiches at the desk or coffee in plastic cups). The fact that the actors speak their English with naturally English accents is a plus in terms of involving the viewer, and I suspect the sultry Italian intonation of Zen's sultry Italian love-interest was also deliberately done to convey a certain effect.
An enjoyable and all-too-short series is on offer here, I look forward to watching more of Zen.
Now, when are they going to get round to putting Iain Pears' excellent series, also Rome-based and featuring the cases of the police art theft squad, on the TV screen?
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Initial post: 26 Mar 2012, 22:28:51 BST
I loved his art mysteries as well, good idea to produce them
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