Wallander: Snail-paced? Unfair to snails

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Wallander: Snail-paced? Unfair to snails

May 23, 2016 - 10:46
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Average: 1.5 (2 votes)
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In the tradition of Wallander, the final BBC series offers us film length episodes that don’t exactly race along. Any slower and the snail-paced first instalment would have been a photograph.

Sir Kenneth Branagh in Wallander

In the tradition of Wallander, the final BBC series offers us film length episodes that don’t exactly race along. Any slower and the snail-paced first instalment would have been a photograph.

Method acting his thespian head off, Sir Kenneth Branagh plays the Swedish detective as a troubled hero whose investigative genius is not glaringly apparent. But only fools underestimate him. And, of course, they always do.

Branagh’s performance is all shoulder-shrugging diffidence and quiet mumbling. So when he suddenly exploded in rage at his unconvincing kidnapper it was jarringly incongruous. As if he was desperately trying to inject life into another dead dreary scene.

Shifting the action to South Africa felt awkward and random. A simplistic right-on plot about financial corruption at the heart of people’s politics didn’t help. And the alleged action was so laid back that even a gun chase through a teeming shanty town seemed sleepy. Disastrously unexciting.

This was an uncomplicated story that could easily have been told in half an hour. Stretching it out to ninety minutes was torturous.

Let’s hope the next two episodes pick up the narrative pace and manage to be a tad more intriguing. Word is that Kurt Wallander is set to learn he’s suffering from the early stages of dementia. Which should take the audience into unexplored territory. Nothing wrong with that.

But unless we see a significant improvement, it’s safe to say that this is a decent cop drama that has run its course. Time to bow out before the downhill slide turns into a plummet.

Amid his turgid South African adventure, Wallander’s local police officer chum Grace said: “There’s never a dull moment with you, is there Kurt?” Actually, there are way too many dull moments.

There are 3 Comments

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

By Philip Star

Series 4 now, Which may be too many judging by the reaction on Twitter.

Didn't see the ratings yet but I think where it may go wrong is that Ken doesn't suit it.

That I believe the South Africa location doesn't work in the show, Why must the BBC make a unnecessary change is beyond me.

I actually turn it off early due to the lack of interesting things happening in the show which is quite bad because I enjoyed the first three series .

The first three series had a great charm to it which I feel this episode lacks. Probably a victim of too many series and no ideas left.

All in all maybe another crap drama on BBC One unfortunately. That two they have got wrong now.

Nige Smith's picture

Brannagh is a great actor, but this was just a bit too slow for its own good. The plodding story was not helped by my second and third whisky and coke, thus making me as sleepy and drowsy as the action or lack of action.

At least the dank landscape of Sweden was replaced by the slightly more uplifting South African landscape. But why did we have to have it based there?

Are the resources in the South African police force that threadbare that they have to call upon our man from his conference to help them out!!!

Wake me up before you go go please as I am planning on going solo.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz please I need to sleep. That last whisky and coke has kicked in.

Llwynog45's picture

I'm not a great sleeper and often flip through iPlayer in the small hours looking for something to either keep me awake long enough to be tired again, or so utterly tedious I fall asleep any how. (Formula One usually does the trick for the later).

I found this romantic comedy, which I assume is the genre, staring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. About an odd couple , one American the other British, that don't seem meet for at least the first hour of the film. He' a jingles writer, she takes surveys at Heathrow. 'Harvey' flies over to his daughters wedding, and finds himself at the wedding from hell. I found myself making a coffee, lighting up a third cigarette as I got engrossed in this mediocrity. I felt sad for Harvey. Somehow I got hooked into this slush, chortling at the height difference of the two leads! Although utterly predictable, like these kind of movies always are, the charming performances, the witty script, and the actual romance of it all, left me an emotional wreck at four in the morning.

Emma Thompson has never been better, looking great too. Although the material is slight, and the plot unremarkable, If you find yourself unable to sleep in the small hours, and you want something simple to watch, then give this a go. Why I'm so much more emotional in the wee hours is a mystery to me. Perhaps men are more emotionally open when viewing stuff like this on their own!