Kenneth Branagh is Wallander

Poor old Kenneth Branagh. Wasn’t he once a great hope for Britain in Hollywood; making a kind of super couple with Emma Thompson?

Now he’s doing Sunday night TV drama, Wallander. Perhaps I’m a snob (and, hey, I might even watch it if there’s nothing else on), but surely this is something of a come down.

‘The hardest questions a detective asks, are the ones he asks himself,’ runs the promo. Cut to tearful Branagh with gun: ‘Wha-ah-iy?’

For some reason this cracks me up every time.

5 thoughts on “Kenneth Branagh is Wallander

  1. Having been married to a Swedish woman for over 20 years- now no longer- I can say her small part of the Swedish UK diaspora liked Branagh in the role and trhought he’d captured the angsty tec pretty well. Settings were excellent too and the photography but it was the complete lack of a single word in Swedish which raised the Nordic eyebrow. No concession whatsoever to the foreign setting was a bit rich even for the BBC. Poirot, at least, offers us ‘mais evidement’ or ‘precisement’ from time to time.

  2. Branagh can be hit and miss but on a good day he can act anyone else off the set, and Wallander is a good drama; he is very strong in the part, and yes it is snobbery to look down on television drama (Steven Poliakov? Dennis Potter? David Chase?).

    I disagree with the above commenter. Feeble concessions to the use of a foreign language are not for the people who actually use that language, they’re for the British who like to flatter themselves they understand a bit of French. Everything in writing (newspapers, webpages etc) in Wallender is in Swedish; the actors translate for us unselfconsciously. It’s the same technique they used for the HBO series Rome. And no-one complained that they didn’t use a word of Latin.

  3. Actually I’m a big fan of Potter and Chase (Poliakov does little for me).

    I watched the second Wallander and enjoyed it. Although it was riddled with all the usual clichés and I don’t think it’s special.

  4. I watched “Wallender” just because it happened to be on as I walked through the sitting room, and I was reminded what a terrific actor Kenneth Branagh is. I hadn’t seen him since his wonderful Iago many years ago. (No-one speaks Shakespeare better.) He is easily up there with Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen. And they have both appeared in television programmes – and why on earth not?! Thinking that serious acting doesn’t happen on television really is mindless snobbery. If you only count stage acting as Proper, note that Branagh has also had rave reviews in a Chekhov play in London recently. I’m glad he is back in the mainstream again.

  5. What do you know about acting?
    Who the bloody hell are you?
    Branagh has more class and acting genius in his little finger than any actor currently working in the UK or US today. He’s absolutely brilliant in Wallander and the same in Ivanov just completed on stage.

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