this and that

There’s a good review of the BBC Wallander series at Material Witness.  It helps that the lead actor is so talented.

Branagh utterly dominated the screen, making it all but impossible to look away. His unshaven face, stooped gait, and tired red eyes held a raging storm of conflicting emotion as well as an uplifting humanity. It was a moving, mesmeric performance, understated and yet dramatic, absolutely as good as anything I have ever seen on the small screen.

And the fact that it is being filmed on site in Sweden plays a role, too . . .

The canvas on which Branagh was painted was equally dramatic. There is a quality of light and space in Scandinavian countries in the summer that is quite different to anything I have experienced elsewhere. It is captured exquisitely by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. But despite the light and the space Wallander also captures that essential quality of Nordic gloom. It is quite something to pull this off.

Altogether, two thumbs way up. I should also mention that crimeficreader has a thoughtful and excellent recap of a documentary about Mankell that ran on BBC – John Harvey (John Harvey!!) talking to Mankell and others (including a hugely charming Jan Guillou). Do I lose all my Scandinavian crime fiction cred if I confess I like John Harvey’s books better than Mankell’s?

And finally – Ali is winding us up for the debut of the second volume in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy with an interview with Larsson’s bereaved father, who bought his son a typewriter for his thirteenth birthday, but then had to send him to the basement to use it because it was too noisy.