So i watched Rolf in Wallander tonight. It was confusing since i realised that these same stories have been done by Kenneth Branagh in the British Wallander. It looks like all three actors, including my favourite Kurt in the other Swedish series of Wallander, are interpreting the Wallander stories.The two episodes count as a half of the whole story which is continued the next week.
So Rolf is the dark side of all the Wallanders. He manages to make British Kenneth look lightweight and my beloved Swedish Kurt look plodding. Rolf’s Wallander is a lot more dark. Depressing, dreary and more than a little creepy at times. If it wasn’t for my awareness that it can come over as faintly ridiculous at times i would have been truly creeped out.
There is a scene where you are mentally wishing Rolf and strangely subdued fellow Policewoman completely out of a flat. Like yesterday. Melt like snow and fade away you are telepathically urging them but they don’t obey. Seemingly oblivious to their near danger with the killer who we are already aware of and his more than mad mother.
However Rolf, lanky like some small moving poplar tree with a belly, lopes about with a goofy grin amidst the damp dark corridors and flats. The housing block seems cold and desolate. There are unspeakable murder scenes and the ritual of murder carried out before our eyes.
Rolf is visibly upset at one crime scene. Messy it is indeed. i don’t look. However this did seem a bit un- Policemanlike . Of course this is be to show just how deep Rolf is either that or depressed.
i was pretty creeped out (as i know i keep saying) in these episodes of this story. Well they never turn the lights on anywhere for a start. Not even at the Police station. Unless you count the ever present de rigeur Swedish soft glow lamps.
Pretty sure they don’t have lamps inside British Police stations.
Rolf has a peculiar charm. From watching several Rolf episodes now i did come to understand how he would work his magical charm on women. However his habit of pervily picking up murder suspects for dalliances is a bit unusual
Our Rolf zeroes in on a close up of his female colleague’s left hand. She has a wedding ring. He is looking. Will this stop him we are left to wonder?
This, for me, was a particularly dark and dreary four episodes. With a mini-Rambo psychopathic face painting killer in it.
We know this early on as we are shown the murderer’s crime before Wallander goes to the scene. i realise this is what Wallander has always done however i must have stopped noticing it. Possibly this two-parter dragged it’s dreary feet too much and so i was left to ponder such things.
As in all Wallanders, there is a portrayal of a disturbing and dangerous life being lived. By someone in a hidden seam of society opened up for our view with invisible scissors.
The underbelly if you like. i believe this was the author of the Wallander books, Henning Mankell’s stated aim. That the hero was a Detective was secondary. He wanted to tell the stories of the people. People you might not normally imagine living in what we imagine to be sunny forever socialist Sweden.
Rolf as Wallander lopes around largely. Slightly pot-bellied with a scar on his left ribs. We find this out since unaccountably Wallander goes for showers at the Police station in every episode.
He likes to sit there and ponder, wrapped in a black towel. Then he shouts at his colleagues every time they come in to tell him something. i guess this signifies that Wallander has not gone home.
Rolf does inhabit his character of Wallander more fully, for me, than Kenneth does. However they both must be doing a good job of portraying the surreal nature of the plots and their happenings.
Unless this is both of the actors’ joint interpretations. i’m not sure my favourite Swedish Kurt is ever quite so surreal. But then of course i am seriously biased towards the original Kurt .
i was thankful for the surreal aspect of the scary scenes here. it helped reduce the tension. it introduced a near farcical air to the proceedings.
Wallander seemed surprisingly unbothered to find photos of his daughter in the psychokiller’s notebook.
Suitably full of mad intricate drawings as required of super duper mad people on TV.
Wallander also, Supermanlike, runs after the Policewoman’s car and pulls up next to it. Wow.
Yes, the surreal silliness of Rolf as Wallander let some small sunshine of comedy in for me. Once again grinning goofily upon having solved the crime Rolf is sitting doing nothing in his office. Long haired serious faced Policewoman who helped him save the day is sitting opposite him.
As happens in Wallander, nobody says anything for a while. Time marches on. Then long haired Policewoman grins and says:
“Why don’t you come out to dinner sometime?!
Rolf:”Yes, I would love that”..
Uh oh, has his fatal charm done it’s wicked work? What about your poor unknown husband oh no! Or is it just a translation thing and she is asking him to dinner at her & hubby’s house?
We may never know as the scene fades to black on Rolf quietely chuckling. Whilst lacing his hands as if he was playing cats cradle with invisible string.
In the next half of the new four part story we find Rolf actually laughing. he is with his dad who obviously likes his moonshine. Rolf puts on the 45 record of Dean Martin singing ‘Amore’:
“When the sun meets the eye like a pie in the sky that’s amore”!
Rolf and his dad sing.
Fantastic few scenes in the dull blue light of incessant pouring rain whilst they attend to the horrific crime scene. And again a beautiful scene is smoky blue light almost like fog swirling around. Rolf and his partner, the implacable long coated and polo neck wearing Detective are doing that stereotyped thing:of getting burgers and canned drinks from a roadside burger van. A universal cop stereotype.
Yet it being Sweden you can’t help but think the burgers have to be more healthy. Indeed you can see they have sesame seeds on the bun.
Notable happening and utterance:”Oy?!” when a shrunken skull falls out of a bag. Also, shock horror! Kurt’s dad is ill in hospital and is lying in on a trolley in the corridor just like in the NHS.
Plus in the next story there is Rolf and the Policewoman being overcome for their apparent lust for each other in the front of a Police car and snogging until they are interrupted!.
Then there is the tragedy already written in the stars or rather Detective drama trope. In that Rolf is carrying around in his suit pocket a framed enlarged photo of him and his dad “on the steps in Rome”. Just as his ill and elderly father has been pleading with him to do.
But as Rolf is going down the hospital corridor to give the photograph to his Dad he is called away . Again. Rolf stands with his hand n the open door and looks down the beckoning corridor towards his dad. Then sighs and lets the door close. You just know that photo in his pocket is never going to get there in time. i did wonder what may happen with the glass in his breast pocket if Rolf was in a scrape?..