Tag Archives: Kenneth Branagh

You can be too angsty, actually

I’ve made up my mind now. I think. Kenneth Branagh’s Wallander is just too miserable and more of a loner than the two Swedish Wallanders. That takes a bit of doing.

And this business of going off without ID, weapon or telling anyone, or for that matter calling for back-up is ridiculous. What’s even the point of hiring half a dozen actors to sit around and pretend they are policing Yshtad? They too want to run around brandishing guns in beautiful Skåne, some of the time. And that was no lake Vättern, and that road was not the road to Vättern.

Didn’t realise Swedish policemen are trained in doing tracheotomies with biros. Surely this would have been a good time for Wallander to fall apart even more?

But I do enjoy the scenery. The landscape, I mean. Can do with no more unshaven Branagh. And as the Resident IT Consultant pointed out, someone likes trains. There was a nice purple Pågatåg this time for Wallander to travel on.

Poirot v Branagh

Well, well, well. Hadn’t expected that at all. I had expected a slight problem deciding which to watch and which to record, when Poirot came head-to-head with Branagh’s Wallander on Sunday night. But when discussing the logistics, it soon became evident that the witch household wanted to watch Poirot, and could see no point in even recording Branagh.

Oh dear.

So we settled down to our third fresh Agatha Christie in eight days. The Christmas effect…

Martin Shaw was lovely, despite being the one who did it. In fact, he was lovelier than he usually is, so maybe we want him bad more often. (Though how on earth can you have a retired actor going round doing the work of the police? Private detective I can understand, but an idiotic actor?)

And Art Malik. He could have hung around a bit longer before snuffing it.

This was pretty good, and didn’t feel as silly as some ITV ‘based on’ episodes. I watched the Peter Ustinov and Tony Curtis film not long ago, and that really was weird. Tony Curtis was running around wearing shorts most of the time, so Martin Shaw was far more dignified. I almost wanted him to get away with it.

And then there were..?

Not none, but rather fewer than before, at least.

We watched Wallander last night, and as the cast numbers dwindled towards the end, I asked who they would have left. ‘This was the last,’ said the Resident IT Consultant, but it really wasn’t. There are another twelve more recent episodes of Swedish Wallander still to come. Although, as the BBC announcer mentioned a new Branagh series coming up, we may have to wait a while. The announcer also managed the feat of going from perfectly correct pronunciation of Wallander to the abysmal anglicised Öuållander for Branagh. It’s how to keep them apart, I presume.

It might have been better if we’d watched these last ones in order, but with a lack of time, we simply recorded the others and found we had a Wallander sized hole on Saturday evening, so consumed immediately. We’ll have to go back to find out what we’ve missed.

I have a recently developed dislike for too many ‘northerners’ in Ystad, so welcomed the local accent of the one actor who could speak ‘properly’, and then he promptly turned out to be the baddie. And I do wonder how they managed quite so much snow. For Ystad.


You have to love Swedish tabloids. Well, you don’t, and I don’t, but as I googled Krister Henriksson, I sank low enough to read the tabloids, as well. And they don’t just write a few ‘facts’ about the actor, they look him up properly, red tape and all, so now we know how much money he made last year. Really!

Krister is the Wallander everyone raves about these days. Sorry, Branagh! My first Wallander was someone else again, Rolf Lassgård, so when Krister suddenly turned up on the box, I watched most of the episode not realising I was seeing Wallander himself. Oh, well.

On reflection Krister is Wallander. I’d never heard of the man before that embarrassing Wallander mistake, but I gather he’s done quite a lot. It’s he who shouts ‘Hermione’ in such a strange and Swedish manner when he reads the Harry Potter audio books. And he owns a theatre.

For reasons I needn’t go into here, I’ve just read a 16 year old interview with Krister, which is interesting. It’s well before any Wallander, for one thing. It also seems that he was getting fed up with playing boyish types, on account of looking so young. Now that he is close to retirement age, that feels odd, but we were all young, once.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Henning Mankell wrote ten Wallander novels. We now have season 1 of Krister’s Wallander films, comprising 13 episodes. And season 2 is being filmed, with at least another seven. So I’d guess it’s the old ‘based on the characters of’ thing. But at least everyone loves them, and maybe one day they will be allowed to graduate from BBC4.

I can hardly go anywhere without people enthusing about Wallander. And you lot are getting so much better on the pronunciation front. Hope Branagh is listening.

(Photo from www.inspector-wallander.org)

Wallander is the new ABBA

Coincidence being what it is, when we went to Space school on Sunday to retrieve Daughter, we met a second cousin of the Resident IT Consultant’s. He was there to retrieve his daughter, a third cousin to Daughter, who is also into space.

When you meet people they usually say how much they love ABBA. That’s because they want to be kind about my country of origin. Now that has changed to people saying how much they enjoy the Wallander on television. Especially the Swedish version, currently on BBC 4. This was the case with he second cousin, as well.

Take that, Kenneth Branagh! They like the ‘foreign’ original better than the foreign (to me) BBC version.

If you are one of my faithful followers, you may have noticed my complete lack of success in getting to a cinema showing Män som hatar kvinnor (The girl with the dragon tattoo). My last failed opportunity was in July, when I ended up eating Norwegian waffles instead. I consoled myself with the thought that I could watch it when it comes to Britain, later.

That was until I read this: ‘cinema distributors in the US and Britain remain reluctant to bring over a low-budget, Swedish film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that already exists. In parts of Europe this film has pushed the second Dan Brown film, Angels and Demons, off the top of the box-office chart. But why squander the chance to make really big money by screening a subtitled version before the book receives the full treatment from a top US studio?’

The Americans want to make big money by making their own. Which they of course think will be better than that sad ‘low-budget’ film. It’s not low-budget! It’s just not Hollywood! But taking a leaf out of the Wallander v Wallander, erm, book; maybe the low-budget solution is the best one?

So, looking at the possibility of not seeing the blasted film at all any time soon, I even instructed Son to see if I could download it on the internet. Very illegal, but what’s a witch to do when her money can’t be spent? But you can’t. There was a Spanish version floating about, I understand.

He said ‘why not buy it?’, thinking that was a practical option. Because it’s not out yet. That’s why. But the good news is – I hope – that it’s out next week. And in a useful sort of way Son is going in that direction, so one of his first tasks will be to pop into a shop and then to pop a DVD in the post home to mother.

Branagh the Swede

I just didn’t know what to think about the BBC doing Henning Mankell’s Wallander books in English, but filmed in Sweden. Now I know. It’s quite weird, in a way.

Wallander I found myself in a landscape that is so very familiar, because although I belong somewhere a little bit further north and west from Ystad, the landscape is almost identical, and I felt very much at home. So, we’re driving through the rape fields (and didn’t that turn out to be significant!) and then they all turn out to speak English.

They look Swedish, though. The BBC have really gone out of their way to find less well known actors, except for that Branagh, of course, and they have managed to find some who could almost pass for Swedes. Luckily they don’t sound Swedish, and by that I mean that these days I feel vaguely embarrassed by how Swedish actors speak.

Continuity problems aside, I think it was pretty good. Not quite as angsty as it would have felt, had it been all Swedish, but fairly satisfying. The BBC need to understand we don’t have a tide. And Mankell can’t have used that in his book, because he’d know. At times the trees were bare and it looked pretty wintry, but most of the time we were looking at summer, flowers in a vase, light green dappled leaves, and so on.

Who cares? The greatest landscapes and some good design go a long way. And I’m trying to resign myself to the pronunciation of the names. Struggled to identify what some of the mangled names were originally, but maybe it doesn’t matter. Although for anyone who cares, it’s Wallander. Stress on middle syllable, please, and do pretend it’s spelled with a V.