Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Carrybag man

Watching the Detectives:

I've enjoyed the series of Wallander films starring Kenneth Branagh on BBC1 the last 3 Sundays; they seemed above the usual Sunday night fare of Heart beat and midsummer murders. I liked the bleakness and the slightly alien nature of the setting. Branagh has always been a good screen actor being most effective close up, whispering on camera is skill that many can't master. He's also suitably rough looking but with enough humour and humanity to show why people will work/care for him.

I do however worry that faced with possibly only three films the producers felt they had to get every hardboiled detective cliché in the book into one short series:

So Episode one we had the detective has difficult relationship with his father and also fellow cop gone bad.
Episode 2 saw the lead character falls for a hot but troubled women who turns out to be involved in the crime (see every episode of Morse ever). Also included title character gets help with computer problem from hotshot supernerd hacker who he once arrested. Virtually every detective novel from 1990's had something about computers in it; they were to that decade what telegrams and train timetables to Miss Marble and Holmes were to theirs: the Scarpetta novels sometimes read like Windows dos manuals!

Episode 3: serial killer puts member of lead characters family at peril I can't think of a single crime series that hasn't had this one.

If they gone onto Episode 4 I was half expecting Wallander struck down by diabetes solves the crime from his sick bed a la "Poirot is unwell" et al.

Don't get me wrong I don't mind these clichés, genera fiction relies on them and I do like Wallander, I was particularly taken in this last episode that he carried around one of those thin orange and white striped carrier bags from the offy. This was pleasing as I thought Greeny Swedes would have banned them but also because it looked right and wasn't cool. Proper detectives do survive on corner shop food, pasties and lion bars washed down with red bull and Fanta so old ken toting his flimsy bad looked right.

The whole show was 10 times better than the recent woeful Rebus adaptations.

Hopefully they'll make some more.

To celebrate Wallander and his offy bag he's another grumpy northern malcontent Mark e Smith singing about his!


Clair said...

I watched the one on BBC Four in the original Swedish; it was the most involving thing I've seen in ages.

BLTP said...

blimey Clair you were quick I was still fiddling with fonts! I will have to see if the bbc4 show is on Iplayer as my freeview is knacked.