A great start to the new series IMHO. Branagh was excellent as usual and the 'new' characters all slotted in nicely. The acting, writing, direction and production values were all up to par and I am looking forward to the next two episodes. Branagh announced the other day that he will be making a final series next year which will feature 'The White Lioness' and the final novel 'The Troubled Man'.
Fine production and the slightly bleached colours suited the story (as one of the TV critics pointed out). Donald Sumpter is doing well in Scandi-thrillers at the moment - just seen him in the American Larson.
Is Wallander supposed to be still in the Swedish Police or has he retired? I ask because in that first show of the new series he seems to be deferring to Mattson? Also, he was unaware that Hoglund had been promoted to Inspector...
Three weeks of quality Sunday nights,plus the BBC2 Shakespeare adaptations on Saturday,I'm not begrudging my license fee at the moment(although Wombledon tested my resolve).
Excellent start ot the series - Kenneth Branagh is superb at conveying the character complexities of Kurt ... The Dogs of Riga looks very good from the trailer I've seen ... I'm particularly looking forward to the final story in this series - Before The Frost ... to see how it compares to the brilliant Krister Henriksson/Joanna Sallstrom original Swedish version.
Just watched a section of this episode this evening - as the recording happened to be on a DVD with some spare space I was using - the BBC version will need to be very special to match it.
It wasn't just Krister Henriksson's fine performance as Wallander - it was Joanna Sallstrom's outstanding playing of the complex Linda that equalled, and almost overtook Henriksson's Wallander in the central role. Their compelling relationship worked instantly - the two actors had an immediate chemistry.
The BBC version needs the Linda Wallander character to rival Kenneth Branagh's Wallander - if it's to equal the Swedish version - if the BBC production/screenplay can come even close to matching the Henriksson-Sallstrom combination and chemistry - they will have done extremely well.
Last edited by mrs_emma_peel; 11-07-12 at 10:47 PM.
I thought The Dogs of Riga was the best Kenneth Branagh - BBC Wallander I’ve seen so far. The entire production seemed to step-up the standards - Kenneth Branagh was superb, but he was matched by quite brilliant performances by the lovely Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite as the gorgeous and enigmatic Baiba Liepa, and by Søren (The Killing/Borgen) Malling as Karlis Liepa.
A riveting atmospheric episode - thrilling, mysterious, dangerous, poignant, romantic, well paced and scenic - with faint echoes and reminders of From Russia With Love - a beautifully acted, written, directed and photographed television film. I thought this episode, above all, rivalled the high quality original Swedish productions.
The final episode next Sunday is Before The Frost - one of the best Wallander - Henning Mankell thrillers - here is the trailer from the original Swedish version with Krister Henricksson and Johanna Sallstrom as Kurt and Linda Wallander. No sub-titles/no spoilers.
Last edited by mrs_emma_peel; 16-07-12 at 03:17 AM.
Has Kurt found his true love? I hope we see the lovely Baiba Liepa - Ingeborga Dapkunaite again ...
Last edited by mrs_emma_peel; 16-07-12 at 03:56 AM.
I am so glad I am not alone in thinking Kenneth Branagh is superb as Wallander - his ability to be still is brilliant. So many people said that if I had seen the Swedish Wallander I would not be so enthusiastic about Branagh. I am a bit confused though as I had not realised that the woman with whom he seemed to be living in the first episode is not there in The Dogs of Riga. Was that his daughter? And why is she in hospital? Did I miss something?
It just gets better as far as I'm concerned. I missed series two and am borrowing a copy off a friend. Looking forward to it.
Kenneth Branagh's best episode yet. Never been a great enthusiast of his version of Wallander but this ranked high with the Swedish versions.
Last nights episode finaly dropped this series into the Judge John Deeds, George Gently hole it has been trying to fall into. Gray Kenny was getting grayer and grayer the longer the film went on. I thought they were going to make him vanish into the gray landscape of the last shot. A car chase with a Volvo estate I ask you how exciting was that? Lots of shots of wind turbines that shows you how green they are and then they never shut a frontdoor. Wallander lives on his own in a house in the middle of nowhere and comes home at the end of a long day to last nights washing up but his dog dosen't want to go out. Maybe thats why they leave the front doors open. And in the final angst scean when the mad religious baddie holds everyone at bay with his hand on the lighter, will he or wont he light it and blow them all up, he plays the whole scean with a lighted candle in front of him. Even after they disarm him by grabbing the lighter the candle is left alight on the table with the petrol fumes still rising. Laughable plots, messages and characters everything but boring Martin Shaw though gray Kenny makes up for it with all that angst.
Although quite good - I didn't think Before The Frostthe screenplay was nearly as compelling or as pacey as the Swedish version and Linda Wallander's character was a pale shadow of Johanna Sallstrom's brilliant interpretation of Linda.
I was generally disappointed with Before The Frost - I think The Dogs of Riga was easily the best episode of this new series and was IMO in the same class as the original Swedish language episodes.
Yes, very much looking forward to ... the golden bear - Rolf Lassgard returning as Wallander on BBC4 ...
Last edited by mrs_emma_peel; 23-07-12 at 06:21 PM.
The BBCs Before the Frost was on a hiding to nothing after the excellence of the original version. However, I think it was an admirable effort, but not one of Branagh's better Wallander outings. I think that maybe playing down the role Linda played in the story was because everyone realised Johnanna Sallstrom's performance as Linda was unlikely to bettered, no matter how well Jeany Spark performed. The direction and production were up to par (although lacking the pyrotechnics of the original, which had a feature film budget) and Sir Ken gave his usual committed performance. What was lacking was the impact Linda had on the story, in much the same way that her presence was missed during series 2 of the Henrikkson version. Johanna Sallstrom/Linda was the glue that held that story together and without her the BBC version simply lacked the necessary oomph to make it one of the better episodes. Perhaps the BBC should have left it well alone. Having said that, the episode was still worth watching and still a cut above most TV cop dramas. Re the comparison with George Gently .... well, there is no comparison to be made IMHO. Wallander is a class act and features one of TVs best ever leading performances .... George Gently and it's leading actor are not in the same league.
Wallander, The Fifth Woman
Enjoyable and Rolf Lassgard as always is mesmerising, a great bear of a man.
What was off putting was the camera work early on, the dull grainy flashes, images only on screen for a second, if it hadn't of eased off I would have turned off. I did enjoy the brief moment when they were all walking together in the rain in the long waterproof coats, reminded me of the gunfight in Tombstone.
I was nearly put off by the strange beginning to the programme too. Once the director had got that out of his system it was business as usual and as always very enjoyable. Lassgard was on good form and I also enjoyed that 'Tombstone' moment.