Tag Archives: Søren Malling

Farvel og tak, Borgen

‘The last episode ever’ said the BBC4 announcer. That might be for the best. You can milk an idea for too long, but I don’t believe they did that with Borgen. Three seasons would seem about right for length, although when you work out that it’s only four weeks from start to finish when you get two episodes every Saturday, it does seem fairly brief.

Borgen III

As some reviewers have said; it’s unusual, but good, to have so many women in a television series. Women in big roles, at that. So not only do we have a female lead as the politician, but she gets herself a female spin doctor.

Perhaps Katrine let the side down by being a ‘useless’ mother at times, but on the other hand, we do need to see that people are normal, average, poor, at what they do. And it was nice to see how well Kasper took to fatherhood, considering his own childhood and how hard he finds it to commit to a woman.

Borgen III

I can’t say I thought much of Birgitte’s ‘bit on the side,’ as boyfriend Jeremy described himself in the Guardian. I didn’t particularly like him, and the English dialogue was too perfect. We know that actors can do foreign langauges well, because they have a script, but what works well for a political state visit, doesn’t really do for intimate chats between lovers. Besides, female viewers want to see more of Mikael Birkkjær.

Borgen III

Torben’s wife was an interesting character. And I don’t know what to call Torben’s boss. But it would be unprintable. Personally I found Søren Malling’s acting very good indeed. He really came into his own. For fictional characters, I very much liked Hanne.

The recycling of actors in a small country leads to weird situations, like when The Killing’s Troels came face to face with his PA. And for child actors, how can you possibly predict that one will grow tremendously over the years of filming, and the other one will hardly change at all?

Borgen III

Birgitte’s ‘cheaper’ flat seemed anything but. It was very trendy. Even the broom cupboard conference room at party headquarters had a certain charm.

Finally, isn’t it good that politicians can come up against laws they have put into existence, so that it’s ‘impossible’ to question them?

(Finally finally, how many people have stopped eating Danish pork?)

Borgen III

A Hijacking

A Hijacking is a hard-hitting Danish film on a subject most of us know little about, and tend to forget if we can. Any hijacking is bad, and Somali pirates seem to be working at the worst end of it.

Kapringen - A Hijacking

When shipping CEO Peter decides to do his own negotiating after one of his cargo ships is hijacked, he does so against the advice of English advisor Connor, who nevertheless is beside Peter every step of the way. And it’s a long way.

As a counterbalance to the well-dressed powerful men in Copenhagen, we have Mikkel, the ship’s cook. He is no hero, but he is brave in the face of this sudden violence and cruelty. He begs his boss to pay the ransom, and he begs the pirates’ ‘negotiator’ for food and kindness and fresh air.

It’s heartbreaking to see the dirty struggle on board, and to see how they are trying to do a good job in Denmark. When Peter wanders off script one day, it ends with a shot at the other end. You can almost see the thoughts in this powerful man’s head as he realises his actions may have cost someone their life.

Kapringen - A Hijacking

And still, we have already seen him being the hard negotiator in a ‘normal’ business deal, so why feel sorry for him?

You can tell it has to end reasonably well for most of the characters, but the situation is so tense, you must also be aware that for some it can’t end well. Who, and how?

The Danes seem naïve a lot of the time. It’s easy to be like that, when you’re nice and safe. But the Somalis are also naïve in some way, believing that there is any amount of money to be had in return for freeing people who shouldn’t have been held hostage in the first place.

In a way, not a lot happens. But you sit transfixed by what’s going on. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say that I would have expected the men’s beards to have grown much longer while this situation lasted.

Now that we are on such intimate terms with so many Danish actors, it was good to see Borgen’s Kasper as Mikkel, and Sarah Lund’s first detective partner Meyer as Peter.

(At Cornerhouse until 16th May)

Below is an interview on Danish television with Gary Skjoldmose Porter, who not only plays the British expert in the film, but is a British expert outside the film as well.
http://go.tv2.dk/morgentv/id-56761521.html

Unit 1

You are already wondering what on earth to do when Borgen finishes in two weeks’ time, are you not? It’s understandable. There will be no more The Killing. Don’t know about more Bridges, and we have all seen Wallander several times over.

Rejseholdet

But do not despair. Unit 1 is here. (Honestly, what a title. But no doubt I shall get used to it, and will soon talk about it in three languages.) I mean Mord-kommissionen, as it is in Sweden. Or its original title Rejseholdet, as the Danes know it.

It’s not coming to BBC4 next, unfortunately. But desperation for more murderous Danes and role model female detectives will send you hurtling into the nearest HM.., no it won’t. You’ll probably buy it online. It’s what we do these days. Anyway, Rejseholdet, aka Unit 1, will be available to buy from tomorrow.

You will love it.

If you don’t, it will be your own fault. I have gone on at length about it, for years, and here we finally are. It’s season one only, which I think means the first nine episodes. There is a total of 32, so no doubt the rest will follow, once they have you hooked.

Rejseholdet

It is being sold as something starring Mads Mikkelsen. Only as a member of the team, however. It’s even been described as having his brother Lars in it. (Troels, you know.) I think only as a minor character in one episode, just like Søren Malling who is Meyer/Torben. And then there is Lars Brygmann, the other Troels (Höxenhaven), when he was younger and much sweeter.

Rejseholdet

And anyone else you can think of, most likely. It also has a few people you might never have met, but who will soon become your best friends. Like IP, who we look out for every time we land at Kastrup. What’s more, for those of you who believe Denmark is always dark and cold and wet, you will now get the tourist’s Where’s Where of this lovely country. The murderers obligingly murder somewhere new each time, and we get to visit the whole country.

Very nice.

I almost envy you coming to this fresh. I definitely envy you getting the English subtitles. We are still labouring away with the Swedish ones. Not me, but the rest of us.

(Here are a few links to my previous rantings on the lack of Unit 1 in the UK. Link 1. Link 2. Link 3. Link 4.)

Borgen, here we come

Four episodes in one day might just have been a couple too many. I felt a bit like you do when you should have stopped after the second helping of cake, but didn’t.

Borgen, season two, starts this weekend. And as Daughter had omitted to watch the first lot, and omitted believing the old people that it was worth seeing, she had some catching up to do. And I ‘had to’ keep her company, which is why we consumed ten episodes in six days.

How come she took the word of her peers, when they said it was a must-see? I said the same thing.

Anyway, she liked it, and we are now sorted for Saturday. It was hard at first to accept you can walk down dark alleys alone, because if it isn’t The Killing, you will be fine. And watching it all again, so fast, it was fascinating seeing Birgitte’s marriage breaking down. (I don’t mean that badly. It simply became so much more clear.)

Men who love women – Borgen style

Interesting the way they play with titles. Some men loved some women some of the time, but for the rest it was the usual misogyny. I’m surprised Denmark hasn’t already legislated equal numbers for women on company boards. Norway did.

And interesting how both men and women lie to get where they want to go. I did feel the unelected minister had rather a lot of degrees. Meanwhile, Kasper is good at his job, but not good at all when it comes to women.

It’s the children I feel for. They didn’t ask to be the children of the Prime Minister. Husband Philip is also being good. I expect if it had been anywhere else, they would at least have someone in to help with the chores. Father of the PM would like to, but he gets in the way, poor man.

Both of Sarah Lund’s dead detectives are still doing well, each in their own way.

Sidse Babett Knudsen and Nicolas Woodeson in Borgen

The episode featuring the state visit was good in that it probably showed pretty much what it must be like having to be polite to someone with questionable politics. I suppose we thought Mrs Prime Minister would be able to withstand his demands, but it was so much more realistic this way. Let’s hope her devious solution also happens in real life some of the time.

Still suspect the PA of being more than fishy. Lucky draw indeed!

Borgen

At least she knew it was a Tupilak. I wouldn’t have, but when your mother is the Prime Minister of Denmark you know about Tupilaks, with or without souls. Not that good old mummy had time for shopping while in Greenland. I’m trying to decide if the curtseying secretary is inept, but kind, or if she’s a spy. Buying the Tupilak was almost more thoughtful than you’d expect an idiot to manage.

The art for the PM’s office was fun. It became a running gag, but I suppose it’s come to a natural end by now.

Very good to have the Greenland angle in an episode. Few people know much about it, and here the Inuit almost got a voice of their own, however brief. I wouldn’t mind more.

Greenland cemetery

Last week comments about Borgen were along the lines that it’s intelligent television. Maybe it is. Or maybe we are just getting too used to too much rubbish, and are easily pleased when something different turns up. I’m enjoying it, and so is the Resident IT Consultant, who had no hesitation in joining me this week.

A Troels too far

Two dead detectives resurrected into Danish politics in the new series Borgen. (And you try and say that if you can! It’s not as simple as it looks. Maybe adopting royal style plums in your mouth would help.) Meyer as a rather aggressive television editor and Strange as husband of the future prime minister. (It’s funny. I took their division of labour within the family to mean that he was a househusband while she concentrated on politics, and then it turned out he was ‘merely’ a college lecturer while waiting for his turn at something real.)

Wasn’t sure at first what I thought. In the introductory five or ten minutes I could easily have stopped watching, but after that I was hooked. The Resident IT Consultant was tired and was only going to watch the first episode, but didn’t depart for bed until after the second. So there.

Borgen

I think we are looking at ten episodes, if my internet search is correct, with another ten following hot on the heels if we turn out to like this political backstabbing. And let’s not praise only the Danes. I hope you noticed that the television companies from Finland, Norway and Sweden were also involved. Somehow we always seem to share these things between us.

The Billie Piper lookalike reporter who might very well turn out to be pregnant on live television, is confusing me. Her ex has an unfortunate tendency to back the wrong horses. He’s both a bit of a crook and half decent. Or perhaps he’s just worried about his skin, rather than showing decency? When he did what he did, I was muttering DNA and fingerprints under my breath, but this was politics and not forensics.

Political party leaders on bikes is nothing new, but this felt more genuine. So did the comment that Her Majesty might be out buying cigarettes. Not convinced that the Mulberry incident was product placement. They just needed to shop somewhere decent but exorbitantly expensive.

Had to tell Daughter that her beloved La Cour from Rejseholdet turns up as a much older and worn out politician, with a shifty look. What’s worse, he’s called Troels. Are we about to have another bout of people going round calling for Troels? I was confused by the actors referring to him as Höxenhaven, when the subtitles said Hoxenhaven. Minor issue, but unnecessary.

As was the fact that the darkness of Forbrydelsen in that dreary month of November made for better visibility subtitles. Come back! All is forgiven. Seeing the light is all very well, but our Danish isn’t yet good enough to go it alone.

It’s amazing

that no one seems to have given away who did it. In The Killing. It wasn’t the butler, but I suppose it wasn’t far off. In a way. Daughter said ‘I told you so’, and in fairness, she did.

I had plenty of suspects, but the way they went round most people at least once and sometimes twice, what is a person to think?

It’s amazing that they could put together twenty hours of suspense like this, and even more that no one said. I didn’t even go out of my way to avoid spoilers. Solidarity, I imagine.

And in the hour leading up to the two final episodes, I felt more excited than I’ve felt for most television programmes. It’s a television programme, for goodness’ sake! Though I will feel differently about landing at Kastrup airport in future.

So, well done to all. And the taster for series two will assure everyone that the jumper will indeed get an airing again. Though I have to say that Daughter’s solution to all this is to buy the DVDs. As she said, they have to be available in some language somewhere. Will have to check.

Catching up with those jumpers

Sarah Lund's jumper - white

Seems I can’t leave the country even for a week without Guardian readers starting a jumpers thread on the letters page. You wouldn’t have thought so much could be said about a fictional Danish policewoman’s choice of clothes. What I find even stranger is that viewers covet the jumpers for themselves. I even found a blogger who was working out how to knit one, in order to save on the £200+ price tag. Someone is making a fortune out of this.

Sarah Lund favours the cream one, and I check every time to see if I can find any evidence of it having been mended after the stab wound. I can’t. The black one is better, to my mind, and I don’t like the red one at all.

Sarah Lund's jumper - black

The other slight problem with being away for two Saturdays was the number of episodes we needed to catch up on before the next Saturday evening, because the Resident IT Consultant who’d been left at home had watched them all. So from Friday evening Daughter and I watched a total of six hours of The Killing in around 24 hours. And that included sleeping.

Checking what else was on at the same time gave the impression that the other channels had a lot more attractive programmes and films on offer than is the usual Saturday night fare. Perhaps they are suffering from The Killing and need to compete with little BBC4?

Sarah Lund's jumper - red

What’s more, newspapers are writing about the programme repeatedly, proving it’s the latest must-watch, including a full page article in the main section of the Guardian.  And the BBC have bought the next season as well.

Hopefully xenophobia is on the way out as far as television drama is concerned, and one day soon people won’t think twice about subtitles.

I’m thinking the Swede did it.

The Killing

The new Danish crime drama on BBC4 was really very, erm, Danish. Nothing wrong or surprising about that, but it’s amusing how Danish you can get. The Killing (Forbrydelsen) is from 2007, and it appears to be a direct descendant of Unit 1 (Rejseholdet) in style and feel. I found the two female detectives even speak the same way. There is something very Danish about the unhesitant tone; they know exactly what they are about and what’s right.

Meyer and Lund in Forbrydelsen

Hardly surprising that Sarah Lund’s new colleague asks in a resigned voice if she has an opinion on what underwear he should use. He can’t smoke, he mustn’t drive too fast, and he should be much politer.

And they do not like Swedes. That much is clear. But we know this already, which is why I so often speak English in Denmark. Like Ingrid Dahl in Rejseholdet Sarah has a Swedish boyfriend. Ingrid’s didn’t last long, and this one doesn’t look too promising either. The scriptwriter (Søren Sveistrup) got in a Norwegian insult, too, by suggesting it’s impossible to tell Norwegians and Swedes apart.

Sarah Lund in Forbrydelsen

The first two episodes on Saturday made for compelling viewing. I’m glad we get two episodes at a time, or we’d be at it for far too long. It’s still going to take us a while getting through all twenty episodes.

Sarah Lund is leaving the Copenhagen police force to move to Sweden to be with the dreadful boyfriend, although her son is not keen at all. A teenage girl is missing and then found dead, and Sarah is coerced into staying and taking the case, having to cooperate with her successor, Meyer.

The politicians in Forbrydelsen

It’s clearly going to be a complicated tale between the police, the (crooked?) politicians in the upcoming election, and the poor girls parents.

Scary at times, and so very Danish. But not too dark. The crime is dark, but I didn’t feel the characters were leading dull or dismal lives. Unless poor Meyer will feel hemmed in by his bossy predecessor with her wonderful wooly jumpers.