Henning Mankell's 'Wallander': The Revenge

Henning Mankell's Wallander: The Revenge is the first film from the Swedish shows second season in which Wallander investigates a bombing, a series of murders, and is forced to deal with the military and the secret police while doing so. It all begins with a demonstration to close down an exhibit that has agitated the Muslim community. The man responsible for the exhibit has been receiving death threats from all over the world and is under police guard until the exhibit is over. Elsewhere bombs go off destroying the towns power station giving a killer the opportunity they need to kill the man responsible for the exhibition. Are the two incidents related?

The Revenge has America’s 9/11 written all over it, only on a smaller scale. The bombing of the towns power supply is reminiscent of the idea that taking out the twin towers would be the equivalency of taking out America’s financial infrastructure. The power in the town goes out and all chaos breaks loose. With the town already on high alert due to the demonstration simple minds need only link a bombing with Muslims. You don’t have to be a detective to know what kind of ugly prejudices will arise and what dangers could be forthcoming from the torch and pitchfork crowd. Just when it looks like things couldn’t get any worse a series of car bombs go off in random locations sending the townspeople into a frenzy. They want answers, they want action, and Wallander knows that soon enough they’ll be clamoring for blood.

Wallander and his crew hit the investigative trail hard at first only to be stymied by a bureaucrat who has taken control of the investigation on behalf of some other nameless higher power. Despite the team looking at the incidents as related she wants the team broken up and sent out to investigate the incidents as individual events and she wants them to report back to her if they find anything. Nothing is more frustrating then to have someone unqualified telling you how to do your job and it only gets worse when the military rolls into town followed by the secret police. If I had to compare it to anything I’d say this is the part of the film that reminded me of Edward Zwick’s The Siege. Can Wallander solve the case before the whole town gets put under lockdown and if so who will he find is responsible?

Krister Henriksson does a superb job of playing Wallander. He has a natural feel to his every movement from the opening scene in which he and his friends are celebrating the purchase of his new home to a very intense situation towards the back end of the film which I can’t go into further detail about. You simply believe his performance which helps put you into the thick of things. I also love how the show so unapologetically speaks out on key subjects such as the military, the hierarchy of authority, and the basic ugliness of who we are as people and how it doesn’t matter what language you speak or where you from, it’s usually always the same ugly truth. The show pulls no punches as far as I’m concerned and that helps things run along smoothly and transports you so that your never taken out of the moment. If a character is in danger it’s plausible, if a rule needs to be bent or broken it arrives on the natural bumpy road that would imply. For suspense film that ran only an hour and thirty minutes everything was in its right place. Definitely something to check out if your into the detective genre.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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