Created by author Henning Mankell, Kurt Wallander is not your typical police detective. He’s dirty, he smells, he’s a bad family man, he’s practically suicidal at times…and he looks awful all the time. But, he is good at what he does…it is by far what he does best…solve crimes. The crimes nag at him, infest his person, enter his soul and will not leave until they are solved. To say he takes things personally is a true understatement. Sure, Frost and Morse are both grumpy, unkempt at times and lacking in social skills, but compared to Wallander, Morse/Frost would be your favorite cuddly grandpa. And, these BBC/PBS productions are so skillfully done, they really get into the mind of Wallander. We can almost feel his pain and his angst. We are right along with this daughter as she pleads with him to eat and sleep. Branagh is perfectly cast as Wallander…he is not afraid, here, to let anything show…he is completely exposed. Most actors wouldn’t be able to do this…even if they could. The stories are your average crime fare. What makes the series as great as it is is the character Wallander and Branagh’s portrayal.

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A Norwegian and Swedish film about scientists in Sweden during the 1950s who come up with the brilliant idea (yes, that is sarcasm) to study the behavior of people in their kitchens. For the study, they have selected men who live alone…widowers, bachelors, etc. The “researchers” had special chairs to sit in to study their “subjects” kitchen habits and were not supposed to talk to their subjects under any circumstances. OK – from this you probably think this is not the movie for you. Well, it’s a slow film, I’ll grant you that, but once I got into it, which really didn’t take that long, I loved it. It’s more of a case study of men during this era – men who live in isolated, extremely rural communities in Norway. This film is about friendship and trust…and about the small things in life. Nothing much really happens here but what is on the screen is heart-warming and humorous. For people who don’t like foreign films or having to read subtitles, this is a foreign movie for you! Why? Well, there is not much dialogue so not many subtitles to read.

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