Posted by: Paul | January 11, 2010

Wallander Part 2

Managed to stay awake this week – though my wife fell asleep this time!

It’s a great shame they can only make 3 episodes of this at a time. Mind you, after the bleakfest that was last night’s show I’m not sure I can take much more than 3. A tale of Kurt’s gradual rehabilitation from depression (if you can call it a rehabilitation), that began with the separate deaths of a father and son, and led through twists and turns to a ring of organ traffickers exploiting medical aid projects in Africa, it was about as grim as they come.

Kenneth Branagh continues to astound me in this role. Since handing in his badge at the end of last week having shot dead a suspect in self defence, Kurt has collapsed. He packs himself off to the Swedish coast to mope and attempt to deal with the events. He is depressed, wracked with anxiety and stress, unable to sleep or eat properly and shaking uncontrollably. He is withdrawn, quiet, introspective. Branagh plays him in a totally different way to previous episodes – he has lost all authority and all sense of himself as a man, a policeman, even a human being altogether. He took a life and blames himself, whatever the circumstances.

His team moves on regardless. Magnus steps into the Kurt role and instantly makes a blunder in glossing over the investigation of a car accident on a remote road which heads to and from only one place – the home of a respected but reclusive philanthropist (played by a chilly Rupert Graves). The dead man was the father of a friend of Kurt’s and when the son seeks Kurt’s help Wallander cannot bring himself to come back to civilisation. The son subsequently commits suicide, saying Kurt was his only hope. Come on, as if the guy didn’t have enough problems!

In an attempt to “set things right” Kurt picks up where Magnus left off, as a civilian at first before identifying the flaws in the original investigations and bringing it into the team. The scene as he mumbled his way through his suspicions, broken and deflated were such a contrast to the bellowing from the previous week at the press leak about the “foreign” murder suspect. Branagh’s range is utterly convincing here and it was nerve-wracking to watch his former colleagues reactions. Magnus angry at the intrusion, Ann-Britt pitying. Would he ever be able to carry on?

An interesting parallel appeared later with the philanthropist’s security guard – a disgraced former police officer who was discharged after causing the death of a teenage girl in a car accident. Now there was someone who would never be able to forgive himself…

Anyway, great episode. Like I say, shame there’s only 3 at a time as it means just one more. Up next for us is Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie!

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