17 December 2010 | gray4
The earliest screen Wallander
After watching the Swedish television series starring Krister Henriksson as Wallander, it takes some considerable adjustment to believe that the bear-like Rolf Lassgard is really playing the same detective. Similar adjustments are needed as the familiar characters from Mankell's great novel and the Swedish TV series appear with different faces.
However, the overall sense of gloom and angst that characterises the Wallander series is maintained throughout this 2003 two-hour adaptation for television (now shown on UK television for the first time). The twists and turns of Mankell's plot contrast the gentle Skane countryside with the violent bombs, mines and shootings.
The plot, familiar not only through Mankell's novel but a recent UK TV adaptation starring Kenneth Branagh is bleak, verging on the gruesome - details omitted to avoid spoilers. But the storyline has been simplified, so that the reasons for Wallander's depression and drinking are omitted and his complicated personal life streamlined to an affair with colleague Maja (excellent acting by Marie Richardson)and a clumsy one-night stand in Stockholm. The result is an absorbing two-hour tale, but lacking some of the intensity of the later and shorter adaptations for television.