New! Arne Dahl-BBC 4 -My first review-12 Episode long series Saturday nights @9pm-warning some spoilers

Arne Dahl is set in Sweden.

 1st episode:

Well about a 1/3 to 2/3 of the way through this i developed a headache which is petty unusual for me.  So i absented myself sorting some food for possible curative purposes and dinner and i returned to watch it.

As i had feared, the eminently nice and sensible seemingly British but really Scandinavian man went on a quest and it didn’t end well.  I knew it.  Don’t ask me since the moment he started to howl in pain after the unsmiling Russian and or Estonian gang member got his hammer and some nails out and backed our intrepid hero up against a wall in an abandoned factory i stopped looking.

Baddies and goodies always seem to know where those warehouses and factories are in town. Maybe they keep them on their Google maps.

Why oh quite why our fearless suit clad Detective decided to follow “cliff head” giant bald baddy into an abandoned building wasn’t clear.  Without back-up too, as we all know, this is against procedure.

Arne Dahl are the A team of specially picked policemen and women from “all over the country”.  Our doomed hero Detective had gone to a place called Tallin by plane and then car and met a smiling and silver haired policeman who spoke lilting sing song English.  The policeman from Tallin looked like he might know martial arts and was really a handsome 70’s movie hero himself.

Nb. I have since read a review of Arne Dahl which pointed out a serious magical interlude in which the chalked writing on the board in the command room was wiped off by the oddly pernickety and chatty cleaner.  When the cleaner wipes it off it reappears according to this reviewer.  i did notice that however my take on it at the time was that it didn/t get wiped off.  Since it was chalk and one swipe doesn’t necessarily do anything.

You need to swipe again, the opposite way was my feeling.  Or I could be completely wrong and know nothing about the properties of hand written chalk on a blackboard. If it was magic marker pen it would definitely rub out however it’s not a done deal with one swipe over chalk.

Perhaps, as the reviewer lamented, it wasn’t meant to be a deliberate touch of magical realism in the episode.  He describes how he waited in vain for more similar touches, but nothing.  My feeling is that i am right and it was chalk.

But i did suspect the cleaner man.  That was my immediate thought.  If not well he sure knows all the suspects and victims now.  So far it’s a bit flat and head-achey making.  Perhaps it is the shaky camera work i read about.

Oh and the ostensible hero so far is a bit of a plonker.  That is the beardy detective.  OK at the end of this we find out that there is another case next week, a different one.

It was all right, pleasant enough.  It trundled along.  Thank goodness my hero, brave and intrepid Detective who looks exceedingly British was OK.  Was mainly worried about him for most of the two episodes until i found out he was OK. Barely hobbling, in spite of being crucified as the boss lady describes it.

I like her green eye make-up.  It’s eye-liner.  Her eyes are the most piercing yet opaque blue.  She has really cool wide legged trousers like they could be from the 1920’s.  She puts both her hands in her pockets sometimes in a kind of cowboy stance i find pleasingly butch.  The boss lady is cool.  Like really cool and on it like a hot plate in your hands.  Plus she has the most amazing orange cardigan ensemble going on.

I have a hero or make that an alternate hero in my intrepid shirt wearing Brit look alike.  The beardy or supposed main hero i found faintly annoying.  yes, i know its mean of me and I’m not being very accepting an all but i just don’t like that beard growing under my chin, my neck, pretty much everywhere thing going on.

I mean wtf- are you wolf man as in Michael J Fox in his memorable and seminal role in the film?  If you are not acting in or being an extra in a wolf man film then shave some of that mother-F-ing thing off!

That said the whole rest of the beard thing going on is quite growing on me.  Beards in all their various shapes and sizes.  But please, not the little wispy thing growing out of the point of your chin folks.  Which has the effect of an overgrown guy in a video game;who had to take the ring or key to the Innkeeper.  & save the beautiful Innkeeper’s daughter.

So no, beardy man is not my hero.  All because of too much beard.  Well and seeming to be a bit of a prick of a husband. Or is he?  Snowed under  working 24-7 for days in a row however somewhere along the way rolling in the metaphorical hay with beautiful steely faced lady Detective.  Who has an ace quilted black jacket on.

This episode and the previous half of this 2 parter is predicated on the first murder being that of a young Russian bank robber killed by a shot in the eye.  From a dart..

I wondered whether Arne Dahl was meant to have gentle comedic as in ha de har moments.  Or whether we were just being offered warts ‘n all, in the style of Wallander though not perhaps so deep.
A warts and all plodding Detective story with a slight 70’s right through to 90’s flare to it?  This is the effect which lends a tentative air of comedy to it’s tails. For me anyway.

I feel almost like watching Arne Dahl is like just watching a cop show but in another language.  It might be what someone Scandinavian feels like watching Broadchurch for example, or, they might think its really cool and different just ’cause it’s set somewhere different to them.

Or maybe boring is boring  & good is the same all over.  I can’t decide if Arne Dahl is genius to semi-genius good and is knowingly a bit sweetly dated and low key.As in looking like you don’t try too hard.

 Or is it just a plodding procedural with the eponymous team of players?  That we, sigh, grow to know and care about.  As of yet i’m nowhere near that stage.  Too much beard hair growing under the chin and the neck on that guy & him supposed to be the hero and all.  hair growing on the neck. Not the neck, noooo..

I like the bumbling yet brave check suited Detective that went on the quest and got crucified. and was back at work and getting hugs from Detective Chavez, since they have all been warned by the sprite like green eye-liner rimmed blue eyed boss lady to be kind to the returning Detective.

The lady boss of all the Detectives in the A-team, or Arne Dahl,  is cool.  Like i said i dig her trousers and the way she holds herself.  She is like some ancient Icelandic sprite. (although they are in Sweden) Beautiful and ancient of face, yet ageless.  Her eyes are the most cloudless indigo that you have ever seen.  They are startling in their deep cerulean blue.

Update on Arne Dahl

So Arne Dahl went from being dull to nicely glowing.  It does, as i wondered earlier, have a gentle humour.  Yes, it all got really rather good.  It was whimsical and sweet in tone and feel.  Not sure i ever really fully engaged emotionally with the characters.  However they did all definitely grow on me.

Whilst i just couldn’t completely let go of my aversion to beard growing on necks and under chins, beardy man, Detective Helm, was OK if a little dull.  Perhaps it was the repeated stereotypical scenes of patient routine carrying wife at home rowing and going off to the log cabin that was boring.

So in the rest of the A team of Detectives we have the little Chilean Swedish Detective guy and the big beefy Detective with a monk haired ginger frame around his shining lofty head.
 (“Didn’t you used to be Mr. Sweden?”)

 Then there is The lady Detective of the team is so stunningly beautiful of face it was hard to concentrate on the scenes for me whenever she was on.  Her liquid brown eyes seemed to have an inward gleam.

There are whole scenes in which we just gaze at her face:whilst she says nothing or cries a bit over the priest she just met and fell in love with who unfortunately swiftly died of Leukaemia!  We even watch her face in a mirror at the same time as her own close-up and that is the scene, in silence.

After a while you become used to how beautiful the Detective was and because she didn’t really do a lot except briefly run after a baddy and get bonked in the head: i mostly amused myself with admiring her whole look.   Particularly her cool black jackets, Barbour style, of quilted black velvet. Her jet back hair she pins behind her in a tight bun. She looks boyish, mannish and serious all at once.  The Detective’s cheek bones are like silken ski-slopes.

Oh and Ray, the FBI Agent in America, together with the pixie-like but stern as steel lady boss of all the Detectives together completely steal the show.  Him in his raincoat, mysterious stance, spy-like ways and Raymond Chandleresque dialogue in Skype interludes..

Arne Dahl-latest episode:

Seen the first episode of the new story and Arne Dahl has really grown on me now.  I’m not fully invested in the characters yet.  I feel emotionally detached from them which is OK since it already has an intimate soap opera day to day type feel.

A reviewer mentioned Hill Street Blues and/or Homicide Life on The Streets.  Point was about the way those shows were filmed, on video, like a home movie.

Perhaps hand held camera effect is where the soap opera reality feel to it comes from.  Yes, it is oddly tedious yet is never boring.  It has odd surrealistic scenic flashes that don’t always sync with anything.

There really were touches of magical realism as mentioned earlier via the magically reappearing rubbed out writing on the board by the mysterious cleaner man in the command room.

I originally thought the cleaner could be the mad murderer but no.  I was not a believer, unlike the reviewer i read, who posited a magical realistic moment in the reappearance of the words on the board.  After the cleaner had rubbed them off.
I said it never disappeared completely since it was chalk.

Since later, in the most recent episode, the cleaner man somehow spirits, fully re-formed, into an empty waste bin a previously popped balloon.  Belonging to the dejected Vito Norlander who just found out that he was a Dad.  The Persian cleaner is called Mr. Ali Razir and steals every scene he is in.  He has a presence and looks a bit like Peter Sellers.

Yes, I have completely forgotten about hair growing on necks and am engaged with all of them now.  Cleverly, they have all started off separate and alone and are now linking up via phone and gatherings outside of work.  The infamous dinner:who knew!  That Helm’s wife would get on like a house on fire with Chavez and with everybody else!

Pouting Helm, whose beardy neck i have now forgiven, is jealous of how Chavez gets along with his family. I presume the next episode follows on with this case involving a piecing together of a drug running gang from Rotterdam. & All serious bits in between.

Arne Dahl is set in Sweden and you never really know what city it is or anything.   Everything is very quiet and low key.  Roads are snowy, light is dull to blue bright.   Buildings are all municipal and utilitarian.  We see the action as it happens.  The hand held camera quality to the story is a little like a holiday film being run on projected film.

Boss lady Jenny Hultin to Chavez in answer to his query:
“What did you have for breakfast this morning?”
“A couple of beta-blockers and a Jaegermeister”!

Nb. The opening and closing credits of Arne Dahl are fairly spectacular in their colours and simplicity.   They are effortlessly stylish.  The red is a particular favourite of mine against the backdrop colour.  The style and the blend from one set of credits to another is reminiscent of the 50’s & 60’s.  With some kind of French Nu-wave techni-colouring thrown in.  (it could almost be the start of a Jacques Tati film)

Arne Dahl is a little dull.  There, I’ve said it.  A little plodding, a little pedestrian, a wee bit boring.  Yet i still like it.  Perhaps, as planned, i will come to delight in its’ dullness?

Liked it? Take a second to support Clarissima on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *