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  • Detective Montalbano ( Il Commissario Montalbano ) is a film rendition of a classic series of detective novels written by Andrea Camilleri.

    Our hero Salvo Montalbano, played by the excellent Luca Zingaretti, is a chief detective (Il Commissario) working in the province of Ragusta, Sicily, Italy. Salvo lives a single life, is a gourmet, and a long-distance swimmer with a beautiful ocean-front house.

    Salvo is confronted with crimes that require his wits, stamina, and a the ability to deal with political and bureaucratic pressures to close cases " quickly " and without stepping on the wrong toes, unless of course, they belong to his subordinates.

    He manages to somehow accomplish this and also maintain a relationship with his distant and " long-suffering " girlfriend, Livia, living on the mainland in Genoa ( not counting the beautiful women he encounters on-duty in Sicily ).

    I first saw episodes of this RAI program in Germany where it remains very popular, and began buying the Camilleri novels in the US. I also started collecting the 18 volume DVD collection, which are available from the EBAY Italia website. MHz Television in Virginia, deserves a big credit for introducing the Detective Montalbano series to North America with English subtitles, although the Mhz film quality is somewhat grainy and less colorful when compared to the original DVD.

    The original novels jump between Italian, Siciliano, and a mix of both. The films make good use of the mainland Italian detectives assigned to Ragusa having to contend with the local police staff language and Sicilian customs. As mentioned in the review above, Catarella, a local officer at the front desk is enjoyable when both confronted by, and confusing to, Salvo Montalbano.

    If you have been to Sicily, or plan on visiting someday, you will enjoy this series by RAI. Highly recommended !
  • paul2001sw-120 April 2012
    For those of us raised on 'Inspector Morse', 'Inspector Montalbano' comes as a welcome breath of Sicilain air. Not that I didn't like 'Inspector Morse' per se; just that Morse, and his Swedish clone Wallander, fit a certain stereotype of a detective, namely the brooding, grumpy old man. Montalbano, on the other hand, is also a stereotype, but a very Italian one. He wants an easy life, good food, a relaxing environment, if he loses his temper occasionally, it's only out of frustration of things getting in his way, on the other hand, if he's faithful to his girlfriend, that's only because being involved with two women would be just too complicated. He, and the rest of the cast, play their roles as comic Sicilians to perfection: and while this might not be altogether serious drama, the combination of Mediterranian beauty, comedic moments and ropey murder plots makes for a very agreeable evening's viewing. On seeing my first episode I was underwhelmed; but once you know the characters, it's great fun.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The series (movies) are good stories of detection as we really want to know who did it and why; but they also reveal the complexity of Commissario Montabano: A man committed to serving his town even at the cost of having a personal life. My wife and I enjoy the "real time" passing built into the movies and would suggest you watch the series in order. While the focus is on Montabano you also watch the supporting cast grow: "Mimi" Augello the assistant Commissario and ladies man; Fazio, (son of Montabano's mentor) the young, dependable detective inspector; Catarella the officer who provides humor through his bumbling but yet proves to be a valuable asset to the team. And throughout there is a fine supporting cast who bring real personality to their roles. On occasion we suspect some of the actors are actual location residents who were pressed into service as the performances seem so real.

    Montabano's Sicily and town of Vigàta have a real non PC feel. The Mafia still is a presence; and the police department has to deal with not only administrative incompetence but with contemporary social issues and the normal boring run of the mill crimes that plague modern life. The series is a refreshing thinking police/crime drama that keeps your attention and involves you in the lives of the characters. After a while, you even forget the actors are speaking Italian and you are reading subtitles.
  • Set in Sicily, Italy, and based on a series of novels, INSPECTOR MONTALBANO has proved successful in various parts of Europe. I caught it on BBC4, the cultural channel of the BBC. It takes a lot to infuse what might be termed an over-familiar genre with touches of originality, but INSPECTOR MONTALBANO achieves this task successfully. This is chiefly due to the interplay between the three main characters (Luca Zingaretti, Angelo Russo, Cesare Bocci), who work successfully as a team yet continually bicker with one another. The shooting-style also helps; there is an extensive use of outdoor locations - as opposed to the uniformly gray interior sequences of many British detective series - and a greater reliance on pans and zooms, rather than shot/reverse shots. This gives the series an epic feel, despite the familiarity of the story lines. The scripts are tautly written with plenty of opportunities for throwaway lines from the main protagonists. Definitely worth a look as a refreshing alternative to Anglo-American detective series.
  • I really like this series of DVDs. I have read all of the novels by Andrea Camilerri and I think they have done a good job of capturing the "spirit" of Montalbano: he appreciates good food, beautiful women and chasing bad guys...not necessarily in that order as his long suffering girlfriend Livia finds out when he investigates a case while telling her they are on holiday.

    Not speaking Italian, I have to read the subtitles, and they have done a very good job since I don't read particularly fast and I still don't have to resort to the pause button on the DVD player all that much.

    The thing that I appreciate the most is the scenery of Sicily. Camilerri's books can't give you a true sense of how beautiful it "seems". I say "seems" because I find the portrayal of daily Sicilian life a little strange: there are hardly ANY people milling about in the background of most of the exterior shots. There isn't any real car traffic either. I don't know anything about Italian cinema so I can't say how common this might be. Perhaps there are union rules which make actor "extras" too expensive. I suspect it might be an artistic choice though. It certainly makes you want to visit this imaginary Sicily though: beautiful beaches and historic ruins completely devoid of tourists in T shirts and flip flops. Also, while Camilerri's books do indicate that Montalbano's house overlooks the beach...you don't really get a sense of how unrealistic that might be until you see it on the DVD: they must pay police detectives 20 times what they pay them in real life for him to afford his "house". After you see the house, you expect his car to be a Ferrari, but, strangely, it seems pretty ordinary.

    To sum up, even if you aren't a huge fan of mystery or police procedurals, you can enjoy these DVDs simply for the stunning scenery: it might be better than actually going there and coming up against the realities of modern life.
  • Another MhZ International Mystery classic and I am told they are in production creating more shows for us that we should stay tuned for (according to MhZ news). Luca Zingaretti is the Italian Maigret and Sherlock Holmes. The relationship he has with his team is hilarious but serious. All the stereotypical Italian nuances you might have learned about in America are born and bred here and are obviously authentic. The funniest person on the show is the clerk, his name starts with a C, Campellini or something like that. He is an Italian Kramer (Seinfeld). The best show with the clerk is the one where he shoots the bad guy, whom he catches while taking a pee on a sting. I've seen Luca in other films, which I have tried to find on Netflix, but hands down this is the best role for him and the one that turns him into a huge sex symbol - for me and all his fans on Facebook.
  • Yes, Salvo is the right toyboy for the ladies and an impatient chief for the police station. I like him and his logic even there is Catarella, the nuisance got a name, and Mimi being the limited officer by his side. Fazio is the bright officer who can follow Salvo's mind. After all this is a film reflecting Sicilian attitude at its best. This is one of the best police drama's I have seen even it can be comical at times.
  • Love detective mystery dramas and non-English/American ones also fascinate me. 'Inspector Montalbano' is one of the best and most entertaining examples. It is not easy breathing freshness into a well-worn genre but 'Inspector Montalbano manages to do so with aplomb.

    Watching 'Inspector Montalbano' is, as said in my review summary and one that to me is apt, like eating a delicious Italian meal that immensely satisfies and leaves you wanting more. There may be very familiar tropes, but in a way it's inevitable and doesn't detract from the enjoyment at all. A couple of stories (like last night's "The Mud Pyramid") may not be as engrossing as most others, or have the most logical, easy-to-follow-entirely plots or the most cooked-all-the-way-through denouements, but this doesn't matter when far outweighed by the rest of the show being so good.

    If you love all things Italian (with them having some of the best scenery, food and music of any country) and love detective mystery dramas, 'Inspector Montalbano' will be right up your alley most likely. It's beautifully shot always and the scenery is stunning, making those who've never been to Italy want to book a holiday there as soon as possible. The music is never over-bearing or low-key with a nice atmosphere and flavour.

    Scripts are always tautly written and infused with beautifully balanced and hilarious humour. The subtitles are not hard to follow, while the cases are absorbing and rarely feel convoluted while suitably challenging the viewer. The characters may be stereotypes but well-written ones, especially one of the most fascinating foreign detective mystery dramas titular characters there is to me and the scene-stealing Catarella (hilarious comic relief but more than that).

    Acting is terrific, especially from Luca Zigaretti who is a treasure in the title role. Angelo Russo's comic timing is a refreshing and always perfectly timed joy. Direction is always paced beautifully and tight while sometimes appropriately deliberate.

    Overall, brilliant. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • trishms20 July 2019
    Love this show..it has everything..drama tension violence and a cool clever Inspector who is very intelligent and funny.Relationships are loyal and rich..while I'm learning the beauty of the language and the scenery.Music is superb🎶 💕.....
  • I am trying to understand why I like this series so much, and look forward to each new episode. There is so much quality in every aspect of these films it's hard to say what specifically is so attractive about them. Although the characters and the texture is pretty much the same across the series, each film has its own significant theme that keeps it interesting. It's more a thinking and feeling show about realistic people, magnificently done, than a show about physical violence.

    We follow patient detective work slowly unraveling an intriguing mystery with unforeseeable twists ad turns, never as is often the case with detective series, unrealistically improbable. The stories present intriguing puzzles, always neatly and plausibly solved at the end (unlike many TV mysteries).

    Many of the shows revolve around love stories, or multiple love stories. Romantic love is often the redeeming value in the lives of these people.

    Montalbano is a dedicated, conscientious detective who is above all kind-hearted and compassionate, often even with people who comitted the crimes. He does not hate or revile them, he understands them, which is exactly why is he is good at his job. He is not your typical hard-boiled, depressed detective. He enjoys life, and he loves people. He has a stable long distance relationship with a wonderful woman. He doesn't have any mysterious powers of observation like Holmes, or an amazing power of logical deduction like Poirot. He relies on the exhaustive collection of facts and his acute insight into human nature to unravel the crimes. Much of the time we are watching him interview witnesses; we learn the background facts when his trusty assistants come to his office to quickly brief him after days tedious research we never see. I suspect there is more footage of him ecstatically eating traditional Sicilian dishes, for he is a serious and picky food connoisseur, as of him looking for clues at the scene of the crime. He has a small but elegant home right on the beach. On his beach he takes a daily morning swim before savoring an espresso on his patio. In the evening, when she is in town, he makes love to his beautiful partner. After solving a case, having witnessed the depths of human suffering and injustice, he heals himself with long walks by the ocean.

    One reason to watch movies is to see exotic places. The films are loaded with gorgeous cinematography of gorgeous Sicilian scenery and cityscapes, as well as many gorgeous actors. These shows have the production values of fine cinema more than of TV shows or made-for-TV movies.

    The show is also hilarious at moments. The comedy is character based, the brilliant portrayals of the foibles of the various main characters depend equally on the writing and the acting. The characters are unforgettable like the cuisine, complex, spicy and rich. The actors portray them down to the bones.

    Another big plus is that the show is a cross-section of Italian and Sicilian in particular, culture and society. You can see into the social issues, and the peoples lives, much more than you can by merely being a tourist. For example, some shows deal with the mafia, some with immigration, some with violence against women.

    I read a review that complained of the lack of action and violence. It's true, this is a detective series with the minimum of violence to move the story forward. The crimes of violence, and there are usually only one or two per episode, are portrayed in a way to capture the horror without any grind-house indulgence in sadism. I recall only one big shootout in all 34 episodes (through 2018). If you want violence and action, this is not the series for you. The stories are a chiaroscuro in which the acts of hatred and greed, that springboard the mystery plot, serve to bring forward contrasting love and compassion.

    It also complained of overacting. If you have ever seen how people can react to the sudden and unexpected death of a parent, spouse or child, you know that this cannot be overacted. The performances are true. In many cases the sentiment is distilled, like wine into cognac, as is appropriate to portray the depths of feeling in a few moments on screen. People routinely bare their hearts to Montalbano, and so to us. This is a cross-section of human psychology, and a cross section requires cutting through the surface of reality to uncover the truth underneath.
  • Every episode is a feature film. Visually beautiful, great casting, musical language, solid mystery construction, expressive of human frailties. A little creepy with lots of older men with beautiful young women. Sure the formula shows thru after a few eps but I never tire of the country and expressive characters.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Inspector Montalbano ("Il commissario Montalbano") is based on the novels of Italian writer Andrea Camilleri. The books have been expertly translated into English by Stephen Sartarelli. If you have read another of my reviews about the Finnish series "Private Eye Varies," you'll know I am a fan of the Scandinavian mysteries, which are simply brilliant. The Italian mysteries are brilliant, as well, but in very different ways. Montalbano is a stellar example of the latter. These Italian mystery shows are often humorous, contain a strong message of morality, and the major characters are usually bigger than life. Sometimes (as in the Don Matteo mysteries), the relationships of the characters are really what the show is about, and the mystery is… ancillary.

    The Montalbano action primarily takes place in Vigàta, Sicily. One of the great joys of this series is watching the astonishing Sicilian regional actors hired to do "bit" parts. One can only sit in wonder at the talent on display. And the fascinating physical appearance of many of the actors. It is truly spectacular. These "minor" roles often bring a lot of humor to the series. You'll find yourself watching, mesmerized by them, and for a brief time totally taken away from the main plot (which, inevitably, you always are led back to). One of my favorites is a woman who plucks a chicken while being interviewed. It is unforgettable acting. Another favorite scene is with a man and his parrot, the latter singing "The Internationale." It is so fantastic to watch Montalbano as he (respectfully) interacts with these crazy characters. There are, in fact, too many such scenes to mention.

    Montalbano has been played since 1999 by the amazing actor Luca Zingaretti. If Inspector Montalbano epitomizes Italian mysteries (arguable, to be sure), Zingaretti is the embodiment of the actors. He's brilliant. He plays both tragedy and comedy with equal skill. And I just love watching him. He is a joy. He reflects us in his bemused but respectful treatment of the odd characters he meets. Zingaretti seems to be an actor who brings out excellence in all those with whom he shares scenes. He is indeed special.

    For an American audience, the seemingly exaggerated gestures made by Montalbano and others can be a little off-putting (I believe this is somewhat intentionally done in the series – I remember wondering at first if Italian men really, REALLY, behave that way), but there is nothing off-putting about Zingaretti. Nor the other wonderful major characters: Fazio, Augello and Catarella… And, oh but can I single out Catarella for special mention? This would seem to be a sort of "stock" Italian character – comic relief, to be sure. We see similar characters in other series (Natalina in Don Matteo, for example), too. But Catarella stands out. He's truly one of a kind. And I laugh every time he runs into Montalbano's door. Every single time!

    There is a lot of political and social commentary in the books, and this comes out in the movies. It would be easy to say "Italy is a messed up place," and, for sure, the country and Sicily have a history and reputation that are undeniable. But Montalbano is loyal and true and just. He can do things that are surprising because they would seem to be outside of the law. But ultimately, he is evenhanded and fair. This "fairness" is pervasive in the books and the series.

    One of the things I like most about this series is its languid pace. There are scenes that go on forever, where nothing happens, and you start to wonder how they can even exist. For example, scenes where Salvo Montalbano is just walking along, going somewhere, thinking. They go on and on. It's wonderful and so very different from the ADHD sort of Law and Order shows we are used to in this country. Another of my favorite things is how beautifully done this series is. The sets are often spectacular, whether it is the inside of someone's apartment, or inside an abandoned warehouse, or even inside an old, unused, underground tunnel. They are, visually, masterpieces to behold.

    This is a great series. Very much worth watching. I am so glad that Zingaretti has not grown tired of the role. That all the actors are still making this series. And thanks to MHz Worldview International Mystery for airing shows like this and others in the U.S. I can't come close to expressing how glorious (and important!) it is to have these international productions available.

    And note: Inspector Montalbano is so beloved and popular that another series, a prequel: The Young Montalbano ("Il giovane Montalbano") was made starting in 2012. It is equally excellent. This second, prequel, series has much to offer, in both similar and different ways. Watch for my review!
  • toppiqqot13 April 2020
    I'm Italian and just want to give a few replies to your questions (sorry my English). -"Why there are any people in the background?" The emptiness of places isn't just for a stylistic purpose, neither because of a low budget, but has realistic reasons: the show is set in a stereotypical group of little towns. Now there aren't jobs in country-lands and a lot, A LOT of people moved on in bigger cities or even in the north of the country or abroad. So the south of Italy is full of empty little towns, with spectacular views but just a little count of old people living in it and a lower one of the young. Often Montalbano moves between them and it's almost normal that there are few people and cars. A little bit is the director's choice, but it's more realistic than you think. -Catarella is "too stupid for police"? He isn't stupid, he clearly has a sort of mental disease/neurodiversity. He has difficult in little everyday acts, but he also has skills in his job, so he can be a productive member of society. It isn't too unlikely. In Italy the state has to help disabled people who have difficulty finding work, paying them a little pension. So if possible public institutions prefer to hire them than pay them to do nothing. By low, all the public offices have to prefer disabled people for some jobs, if they are however able to do it. -Italian men really behave and gesture that way? Yes, absolutely. I'm Italian and I ever notice any non-ordinary expression in Zingaretti interpretation and body language. He seems to me just strong and old fashioned manly, but not exaggeratedly expressive at all, so, yes, hand gestures are quite realistic. Infact, it's an Italian production, with Italian actors, it would make no sense to put a foreign stereotype about us for purpose. The stereotypes that you can find are all inner, as the old religious ladies and so on.

    Now, my opinion? I like Montalbano and especially the work with regional language and the locations. Sometimes I think there is a little to much of machismo in it, but It's a traditional tv show. I really appreciate the mix of investigation, feelings an irony: I love detective story with a funny side, and I valuate more characterizations than action scenes, so it's my kind of show.
  • Montalbano is great fun and a welcome change from the prevailing British detective/PI trope - a sullen, morose depressive living gloomy landscape, usually morning his lost wife, Alzheimer's ridden parent, etc. He lives in an equally depressing tiny apartment and eats TV dinners. I'm not sure why this trope is so prevalent, but I suppose they think that depressing equals deep and profound.

    Along comes Montalbano, who lives in sunny Sicilian in a splendid sea front apartment and dines on fine food. He is lively, excitable, and constantly gesticulating, a classic Italian stereotype. He really doesn't seem to have a care in the world apart from making sure that his next meal will be superb and avoiding another crisis with his long distance girlfriend Livia. (In the later books, he worries about getting older, but this never comes up in the TV show.)

    The show takes you into a world you haven't seen before. The sun, ocean and parched landscape with old, pastel, partially crumbling buildings are almost unreal. This is enhanced by the complete absence of other people or vehicles on the streets. Originally, this was the result of the producers trying to find a place that would be quieter and easier to shoot. Later, they concluded that it added a dreamlike quality to the production and did it on purpose. They were right. (It is jarring to see the prequal, Young Montalbano, where the streets show a normal amount of activity.)

    The plots are OK, ranging from typical serial killings to kidnapping, etc. It is all done in a gentler way than we are used to seeing. In Sicily, it seems, relationships are more important and less judgmental. It is just a slower, more languid life down there in the heat and the sun. This is reflected in the virtual absence of violence, although he and his men sometimes wield their guns and there is a small amount of gunplay in some episodes.

    However, the main reason for watching is the Sicilian landscape and the characters. Montalbano commands the loyalty of his equally excitable, team, most prominently Mimi, his number two and unabashed ladies' man, and Fazio, his absolutely reliable assistant. There are also lesser team members, such as Galuzzo, who is a little fast on the trigger, and Gallo, who drives like a madman, plus a few more. And, of course, there is Catarella, the comic relief who has major trouble opening and closing doors and can never get a name right. (He is even funnier in the books, where the translation does much more with his rapid speech and Sicilian dialect.) Perhaps the best secondary character, however, is the medical examiner Pasquano. I also like Balduccio Sanagra, the elderly Mafia Don. He is far more authentic and convincing than anyone you've ever seen on the Sopranos or any American show.

    He and Montalbano engage in a running dialog of mutual insults that is often hilarious. (Again, this portrayed much better in the books.). The show is also unusual in that it doesn't center on polished looking 20/30 somethings. Most the people you see on screen are over forty and many are elderly with all their rough edges showing. Even the minor characters have, well character. They look and talk like authentic Sicilians, probably because they are.

    There is some downside to the show. The continuity is very poor at times. Montalbano often suddenly shows up in a different place with no explanation for how or why he got there and what he wants to do. It is very helpful to have read the books to follow the TV show, which also often omits much of the background and rationale for his actions and conclusions. Reading the books helps, but this show really needs much better editing.

    Following the subtitles is difficult at times. The actors also speak very, very fast. I mean very fast. The subtitles change rapidly. Even then, they must severely truncate the dialog. You sometimes hear a word of Italian or a name in the dialogue that doesn't appear in the subtitles. I can seldom watch an entire two-hour movie in a single sitting with eye fatigue. The translation itself also often leaves a lot to be desired, as it often contains obvious, nonsensical errors.

    Lastly, it is hard not comparing the TV show to the books. I have already mentioned where the books are far better. As might imagined, they are better at explication and translation. Camilleri also does a lot of word play make a lot of literary references that don't appear on TV.

    While the books are generally better than the TV show, the TV does have some advantages over the books. The books are riddled with Camileri's leftist ideology, especially on issues of immigration and occupational safety. Fortunately, the TV show omits most of it. (The British could learn a lesson from this.) The Montalbano of the books is never described (apart from having a mustache), so seeing him gives a much stronger impression of what he is like.

    Overall, Montalbano is a nice change despite the shortcomings. It takes you into a world you haven't seen before with humor, a slower pace, and a set of wonderfully colorful and authentic characters. But I'd read the books first.
  • Being of Italian descent I was really pleasantly amused by this (and Young Montalbano, too among others). At times it is like watching my family - the tones, the gestures are the same. The attitudes are similar - take care of business, good food, relax when possible. I could identify with all that. The comic relief may, at times, be a bit too light, but the characters carry it off really well. Mimi and Catarella are fun when they get flustered about something. They do make me laugh. M also reminds me a bit of a less serious Poirot when he uses the ending to explain to a group what has been going on and how his logic was used to arrive at a determination. There is also the romantic facet, not serious but realistic enough to identify with the way its played out. You can understand how and why Livia gets so exasperated even though it seems he does truly love her as the exception to all others. I sincerely regret that Mhz is only showing one season as is true with numerous other detective series Italian as well as others. They need to bring the full show - all seasons - on board. Gran divertimento!
  • Detective Montalbano is a beautifully acted, produced, filmed and a loving portrait of beautiful Sicily. I never tire of the opening credits going over several Sicilian towns like Ragusa, etc. The pace of the life of Italians, the time spent on dialog and interactions of the people, the humor and honesty in the discussions is so life-affirming. Sometimes there are convaluted story-lines that I admit I get a little lost in, but doesn't dampen the thrill of a new episode. My husband, who speaks Italian loves it because he gets some of the nuances of the language that I cannot in subtitles and tries to share the ones he can explain in English. Yes, the young women are all cleavage usually, the men fully clothed, usually; but I can't tell someone how to write their screenplay! I cannot! It is lovely to watch and I think once truly hooked, like many of us, you won't be disappointed in the long run.
  • It contained scenes of crime, comedy, passion and occassionaly thriller aspects. All of these with respect to the viewer's taste. This means that it contained blood but not too much, it contained some nudity but only as a necessity and not to draw attention. Also on many specific moments of surprise or passion or sadness, the background music was correct (guitar/violin or some sudden sounds). Please respect the series order. Although every episode is a separate one regarding to the main story, the main protagonists have their personal stories and these show continuity. For example, on an episode of 2010, one of the protagonists is shown as married but there is an episode in early 2000's that shows how that protagonist met his wife. So my suggestion is to start from the very first and proceed in order.

    Very much recommended!
  • Simon_Cooper-122 April 2021
    Mmm, yes. It really is very good, and I'm not just talking about the pasta. There is something truly awesome about the original series, even though the actor differs from the books in almost every aspect of his appearance. They have boldly captured the essence of the character and just gone ahead and chosen the right actor for the job, as one should. The chemistry of the trio of Augello, Fazio and the inspector make for a delicious mix of bawdy honour, hilarious comic intercourse and intelligent, obvious respect. The setting is, of course, impossibly beautiful, but there is no fear in showing the rougher side of Sicily and they do. What sets this show apart from every other one in it's wake (and there are many) is the fabulous depth of mystery and disillusion of the audience during each case. Everything just works and is believable even in its most comic and devastating moments. A proper Italian saga.
  • I am a big fan of this show, being Italian myself. Haven't missed an episode.

    And i believe that the series, as a whole, has a lot to offer. So why only a 7/10 rating.

    Well ..

    Il Commissario Montalbano is a TV series (in long format, with two film length shows per season) based on the books written by the series' co-author, Andrea Camilleri.

    Now, Camilleri's books are quite brilliant. Quirky, unusual - but still realistic, down to earth - mysteries set in a police procedural. Kind of like our very own homegrown Agatha Christie. Italians are quite proud of him.

    And yet, some are better than others. And obviously the early films used up most of the good stuff, and the latter shows are a bit less credible, a bit less interesting.

    Camilleri himself can get away with it, because of his writing style and the quality of the dialogue, which unfortunately would go lost on any foreign-language-speaking audience. And while the subtitles are more than adequate, much of the finer details do get lost. You still get your mysteries, but if those aren't great, then the show isn't great.

    I would recommend this show to anyone, but once you feel that the show has run its course, let it go.

    My vote: 7/10 - it's getting a bit repetitive.
  • Inspector Montalbano.

    As comfortable as a well worn pair of slippers this Italian Agatha Christie never fails to deliver entertainment in its purest form. In this review I want to concentrate on three things, why has this program been chosen for an international audience, what is the formula, and what are the main themes this show advocates.

    The formula is simple, a brutal murder or series of murders that seem to have no clear explanation, the cogs of our hero detective turn, the forensics and leads give some hints of travel in the case, a denouement followed by a moral observation. More similar to Agatha Christie than Nordic Noir as this remains gentle Italian family viewing. Cammillerira being an author of a certain age brings more a more historical and certainly more "wholesome" set of tropes whilst introducing a few modern themes.

    Of course they will argue that the shows success comes from its placement in Sicily because of the light, the food and a particularity in the people. But this is not the case, in fact it's great strength comes from its transferability and commonality of presenting issues. Of course it goes without saying nearly every aspect of its production is impeccable and its avoidance of preaching liberal authoritarianism or representational tokenism is refreshing for many countries that are in very different societal places. It is what it is!

    In terms of themes this is far more complex and directly reflects the author and perhaps reflects how Italian society would like to view itself in the world rather than the way it actually is! I could expand here about the meaning of water and food being a comforter, but there is no need!

    This programme is a classic of our time from both a charismatic author and splendid production

    A perfect 10/10
  • Exceptional series. Very good stories in each episode, lovely scenery of Sicily with humour and good characters. This programme could not be ny better as it is wonderful. I would recommend watching it because if the don't you have missed something which is exceptionally good.
  • For 20 years, Inspector Montalbano has been providing evocative slices of escapism from the dull realities of modern life, and the British climate, in these Sicilian-set crime dramas. Their tone is well-judged, lighter than the now fashionably grim approach adopted in many US, British, and Scandi-noir series, but with a greater depth than the crime pastiche of, say, Midsomer Murders. The Sicilian setting is fully exploited, in panoramic visuals and night-time shots of lamplit stone buildings in the beautiful small towns. Whilst there might be a need to suspend disbelief in some of the plots (there are a few that could have been solved far more quickly if the investigation had proceeded more logically), and it's hard to credit that Montalbano's relationship with his girlfriend Livia would have survived for so long, at so great a distance, these are small niggles in a hugely enjoyable series. Montalbano's relationship with his two deputies, Fazio and Augello, is a good blend of friendship mixed with occasional frustration, whilst Catarella provides broader, more farcical comedy. It's noticeable how many of the plots involve attractive young women, either as victims, suspects, or witnesses. Cynical exploitation? Perhaps, but the frisson of sexual jealousy is often at the heart of the stories, which frequently illustrate a poignant personal tragedy, as much as a simple exposing of a villain.
  • I have watched all the seasons to date and have noted a significant decline in the writing. I gave it 5 stars because of the early seasons but the latest series, 2019, is just a waste of time. It's as if all involved in the production have got tired and want to move on to doing something else. The repetitive depiction and stereotyping of "Siciliana", is overdone and becomes annoying after a while. It may be that it remains popular in Italy but certainly wont sell globally. I think after a while the production team should know when to wrap it up and allow Montalbano to exit gracefully before it sinks to a new low.....a terrible way to end what started as a good series!
  • We so much enjoyed watching the " complete " box set of detective Montalbano . 32 episodes that we watched over a winter on Sunday nights .Sadly we passed our set out for loan with rave reviews. We bought and enjoyed Young Montalbano the prequel.. ..but the more mature non Bonneville riding version was our favourite. Now while reading an article in the Guardian I found out that they kept on filming ! We were ecstatic..I have ordered episodes 33 & 34 and we will have our antipasto and grappa ready for more Sunday nights with Salvo .
  • p-neto1 July 2020
    The show makes you feel Italian even if you are not: I speak the Language but I am just married with one. Zingaretti is fabulous and the whole cast does a fantastic job in supporting him throughout the show. It never gets dull even if the formula is somewhat the same on all episodes. You get immersed in the food, the people and Sicily itself - marvelous place that I have visited before. You cannot rest until you can also solve the crime. One of the best Italian exports after pizza and pasta.
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