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February 14th, 2011


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08:33 am - Forbrydelsen
I have been watching the Danish thriller Forbrydelsen ('The Killing') on BBC4. I am watching episode 8 right now on play-back because I was out on Saturday. It's about a murder in Copenhagen, which damages a charismatic political candidate in the run-up to an election, because there is a suspicion that one or more of his allies in the local community might be implicated. There are 20 hour-long episodes, each corresponding to one day of the investigation.

Although comparisons have been made with Wallander, I think that's mainly because it's a grown-up murder story originating in Scandinavia. It has a very different feel, and the colouring is completely different - it's glossy black where Wallander is wheat-coloured.

The plot is genuinely on a knife-edge, because both the lead characters and we the viewers are flummoxed by uncertainty. What I would particularly pick out though is the very realistic portrayal of politicians: the electoral team, their wider party, and their political allies, are portrayed like real people, with the sort of emotional maturity that political successes actually have. I think it can be difficult to frame a political plot which realistically links a small-scale intimate story with wider political issues. I can think of a lot of failures - like the Star Wars prequels or To Kill A King. This one I think works, with the political manoeuvering and the police investigation unfolding together. Very good.

ETA - I see that AMC are planning to broadcast an American remake this year. Although I tend to dislike remakes, this sounds promising.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:gfk88
Date:February 14th, 2011 09:19 am (UTC)
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As you know, we've been watching this too, although we are a couple of eps behind. I think I mentioned how refreshing it is that it takes its time over everything - having 20 hours to do a single case means that the story can spread out and we get to know each character much better (as well as it showing all the upsetting stuff, like the family's grief, which we like to gloss over in our crime dramas). In the UK, the whole thing would be done and over in an hour and a half. But it never drags, which means they must have done something right.

Incidentally, I initially read your post as saying "20-hour-long episodes", which I do think would be a bit much.
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From:communicator
Date:February 14th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
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Yes, I think the time and the quality go together. If it weren't so good it would be hard to tolerate the pace. But as it is, I never feel I wish it would go quicker. And I genuinely don't know who dunnit yet either.

I think the candidate Troels looks like the 2nd Terminator, and his Machiavellian rival looks like Nicholas Parsons. Which makes their confrontations sort of strange.
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From:gfk88
Date:February 14th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
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Whodunnit ? It's the Quiz of the Week !
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From:communicator
Date:February 14th, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
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I won't speculate because of spoilers but I think an interesting question is whether it's someone we have already seen. If it is that might be kind of implausible as a resolution, but if it isn't, then it might lack emotional force.
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From:hfnuala
Date:February 14th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
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I watched episode 7 last night (I never remember to watch things when they are actually on any more) and I was thinking that if it was someone we don't know I'll be really pissed off.

I love the father character - a very sympathetic portrayal of a very specific way of being a man. He is choosing not to be violent in his reaction and it is so hard for him.
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From:communicator
Date:February 14th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I think that's an example of what gfk88 was talking about, the extra space for development when you have 20 hours to tell the story.
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From:steverogerson
Date:February 14th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm watching this as well - it has me hooked.
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From:steverogerson
Date:February 14th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
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And I must add my chief suspect is the father's workmate.
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From:communicator
Date:February 14th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I've been thinking that too. But then I probably spend about five minutes suspecting each person in turn, so I will feel justified at the end. This one is played by someone called Nicholas Copernicus of all things.
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From:steverogerson
Date:February 14th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
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Though, if they have done this properly, it will turn out to be someone that we actually like at the moment.
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From:communicator
Date:February 14th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I hadn't, thanks for the link. I'd missed that. I am pleased there are more seasons coming up.

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