Henning Mankell's second Wallander novel finally gets the adaptation treatment in another classy episode of beautiful bleakness. A boat washes up near Ystad with two murdered Latvian informants on board. Soon Inspector Kurt Wallander is joined in his investigation by a taciturn cop from Riga, Major Leipa. The two spend time together, enough time for Leipa to know that he can trust Kurt. Upon his return to Latvia, Leipa is murdered. Wallander flies out to aid the investigation but realises that he can trust no-one. As well as that, Kurt finds himself drawn to Leipa's widow, Baiba.
Even by Wallander standards, this is a bleak episode. It starts with a washed out Kurt, waking alone in his washed out cottage bathed in washed out colours. No smiles for our hero this week - his recent domestic idyll is over and he is still plagued with guilt at Anne-Britt being in a coma following the incidents of last week. Of course, this is how we like our Kurt and Kenneth Branagh plays it so well, every look and slight gesture suggesting his fatigue and quiet despair. In Major Leipa he seems to have found his Latvian equivalent and the almost friendship that develops is very nicely sketched in just a few scenes.
|The woman who will become the most important love of Kurt's life (in the novels, anyway).|
GK Rating: ****