Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


WALLANDER: SIDETRACKED. Masterpiece Mystery/ PBS. 2008.

A frightened young girl commits suicide by setting fire to herself, and Swedish detective Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) wonders what horrible things did the poor child experience to drive her to do that? Then there's a series of ax murders of some prominent citizens -- could they be connected to the young girl's death? (And do you even have to ask?) This is a fairly absorbing mystery, the first in a 2008 series of British Wallander telefilms, currently being shown in the US on Masterpiece Mystery. Branagh gives a good performance, although the Irish actor is not exactly perfect casting as a Swedish detective. David Warner is excellent as the detective's artist father, who has Alzheimer's. A good cast and nice music help a lot. Based on a series of Swedish detective novels.

Verdict: Holds the attention but not very original. **1/2.

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