Henning Mankell’s Wallander: The Revenge | Movie review
The Swedish detective gets a television show turned into a movie.
We can thank Stieg Larsson for an American boom in Scandinavian pulp imports both in books and on film. Close on the heels of a film adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters comes this film, part of a series for Swedish television. And yes, the British have done their own take on the Wallander novels, with Kenneth Branagh moping metaphysically as Henning Mankell’s rumpled, hard-drinking, beleaguered cop.
Krister Henriksson’s spin on the role, at least in this installment (he starred in 26 episodes), seems more weary than depressed, more of a casual party drinker than the hard-boozing original from the novels. Of course, between a citywide blackout and a series of murders that may or may not be the work of religious terrorists, he barely has time to walk his beloved dog, let alone sneak a tipple or go all philosophical.
With its casual introduction of ongoing characters, the hints at unexplained back story and the setup of a future love interest, this surely works better as an episode than as a stand-alone. The plotting is plodding; facing a second murder seemingly unconnected to the first victim, Wallander fires off that old detective chestnut, “There’s a link….” Yes, there is. For a night of television, this would be pleasant enough, but it feels oddly cramped for the big screen.