Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Wallander: The Revenge

The kickoff for season two of a series of feature-length Swedish television adaptations of stories by popular Nordic crime writer Henning Mankel, Wallander: The Revenge is an efficient, unfussy examination of crimes and punishments best appreciated by confirmed fans of Mankell's thoughtful, character-driven thrillers. Those hooked on Kenneth Branagh's acclaimed BBC Wallander movies might be especially interested in seeing a homegrown take on the material.

May 31, 2012

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1343198-Wallander_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Veteran police inspector Kurt Wallander (Krister Henriksson) has finally realized his lifelong ambition of owning a house by the water in picturesque Ystad, a small city in southern Sweden where medieval architecture rubs shoulders with modern problems. Though Wallender doesn't seem to have retirement on his mind, it's hard not to see the new house as a step towards a future of romping on the beach with his dog rather than picking through the ruins of shattered lives.

But peace and quiet are immediately put on hold when a series of synchronized explosions cripple the electrical substation that supplies Ystad's power, plunging the city into darkness and providing cover for a killer. His victim: museum director Eric Wester (Lars Varinger), who's just mounted a controversial exhibition of images related to the prophet Mohammed that's attracted protesters from both ends of the political spectrum.

No one appears to have seen anything, either in the vicinity of the power station—with the exception, if you want to call it that, of a young mother who noticed a man in the area but can't describe him in even the most general terms—or near Wester's home. Wester's murder hits Wallender's department particularly hard because one of his men, Officer Svartman (Fredrik Gunnarsson), was assigned to protect Wester and declared his house free of intruders mere hours before he was shot to death.

The combination of the blackout and the murder smacks of terrorism, and before Wallander knows it he's got Sweden's equivalent of Homeland Security crawling all over his town, looking for Islamic activists, anti-Muslim extremists, small-town isolationists and, for all anyone knows, malevolent flying monkeys hiding biological weapons under their little hats. But is Ystad truly caught up in the whirlwind of international political unrest, or does the solution to the crimes—both the sabotage and the first murder, and those that follow—lie somewhere closer to home?

Make no mistake: Wallander: The Revenge looks like the made-for-TV production it is. But that's barely a criticism, since its weaknesses—which are hardly crippling—are weaknesses of visual panache rather than writing or performance, and the Wallander novels and short stories aren't about spectacular gun battles and car chases. They're about the slow-but-steady grind of police work and the lives of men and women who care less about getting 30 seconds of face time on the local news than finding the cause of some ugly spasm of violence before it spreads, takes root and undermines an entire way of life.


Film Review: Wallander: The Revenge

The kickoff for season two of a series of feature-length Swedish television adaptations of stories by popular Nordic crime writer Henning Mankel, Wallander: The Revenge is an efficient, unfussy examination of crimes and punishments best appreciated by confirmed fans of Mankell's thoughtful, character-driven thrillers. Those hooked on Kenneth Branagh's acclaimed BBC Wallander movies might be especially interested in seeing a homegrown take on the material.

May 31, 2012

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1343198-Wallander_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Veteran police inspector Kurt Wallander (Krister Henriksson) has finally realized his lifelong ambition of owning a house by the water in picturesque Ystad, a small city in southern Sweden where medieval architecture rubs shoulders with modern problems. Though Wallender doesn't seem to have retirement on his mind, it's hard not to see the new house as a step towards a future of romping on the beach with his dog rather than picking through the ruins of shattered lives.

But peace and quiet are immediately put on hold when a series of synchronized explosions cripple the electrical substation that supplies Ystad's power, plunging the city into darkness and providing cover for a killer. His victim: museum director Eric Wester (Lars Varinger), who's just mounted a controversial exhibition of images related to the prophet Mohammed that's attracted protesters from both ends of the political spectrum.

No one appears to have seen anything, either in the vicinity of the power station—with the exception, if you want to call it that, of a young mother who noticed a man in the area but can't describe him in even the most general terms—or near Wester's home. Wester's murder hits Wallender's department particularly hard because one of his men, Officer Svartman (Fredrik Gunnarsson), was assigned to protect Wester and declared his house free of intruders mere hours before he was shot to death.

The combination of the blackout and the murder smacks of terrorism, and before Wallander knows it he's got Sweden's equivalent of Homeland Security crawling all over his town, looking for Islamic activists, anti-Muslim extremists, small-town isolationists and, for all anyone knows, malevolent flying monkeys hiding biological weapons under their little hats. But is Ystad truly caught up in the whirlwind of international political unrest, or does the solution to the crimes—both the sabotage and the first murder, and those that follow—lie somewhere closer to home?

Make no mistake: Wallander: The Revenge looks like the made-for-TV production it is. But that's barely a criticism, since its weaknesses—which are hardly crippling—are weaknesses of visual panache rather than writing or performance, and the Wallander novels and short stories aren't about spectacular gun battles and car chases. They're about the slow-but-steady grind of police work and the lives of men and women who care less about getting 30 seconds of face time on the local news than finding the cause of some ugly spasm of violence before it spreads, takes root and undermines an entire way of life.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

The Green Inferno
Film Review: The Green Inferno

Undigested cannibal yarn for Midnight Madness audiences is politically challenged but will scare. More »

Rocks in my Pockets
Film Review: Rocks in My Pockets

A very personal animated film that explores depression and suicidal tendencies with wit, surreal invention and insight. More »

Levitated Mass
Film Review: Levitated Mass

Mesmerizing doc about a 340-ton rock illuminates the controversial nature of modern art. More »

Naked Opera
Film Review: Naked Opera

Prickly subject and unanswered questions make for an engaging but frustrating doc. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here