Friday, 27 July 2012


Sweden's unique police officer, Kurt Wallander, as played by Rolf Lassgard, returns in a new case for UK viewers. Image:  YELLOW BIRD FILMS.

UK (and US) mass audiences may be enjoying Kenneth Branagh's often dark and miserable interpretation of "the Swedish Morse", Kurt Wallander, as originally created in the beautifully crafted novels of Henning Mankell, but the original European versions starring Rolf Lassgard and Krister Henriksson remain the best interpreations in my opinion, full of great acting, atmosphere, drama and interpreted twists and turns that don't feel forced, alongside cinematography that isn't over stylised but feels natural within the storytelling. The UK's BBC 4 have showed all of Henriksson's episodes (and will hopefully show the next batch of new 13 episodes currently being made, too), but not all of Larsson's run have been so lucky. Now, viewers get nearer to that ambition as the channel shows SIDETRACKED, showing in two parts starting this Saturday (28th July).

It's certainly one of the best of Mankell's novels-with a fiery start that got me ever more hooked on the character and Mankell's work in general in the early 2000's- and has our crusty detective in a terrifying cat and mouse game, as well as in a sometimes very tense race against time, to capture a dangerous tomahawk/axe wielding murderer calling himself Geronimo, after the famous American Indian warrior. This dark prowler of his unsuspecting victims, himself born from terrible circumstances and an air of modern day horror that remains chillingly prescient in our life and times, has a method to his madness in whom he chooses, stalks and eventually slays. Branagh's story adaptation, in a more condensed one and a half hours, proved disappointing in it's BBC 1 premiere a few years back, so I'm hoping for better here...

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