Wallander 1.01 Sidetracked (2008) – 5/10 review

Kenneth Branagh: Kurt Wallander
Writer: Richard Cottan
Writer (Original Novel) Sidetracked: Henning Mankell
Executive Producer: Francis Hopkinson
Producer: Simon Moseley
Producer: Daniel Ahlqvist
Director: Philip Martin
Executive Producer: Kenneth Branagh

Wallander 1.01 Sidetracked (2008)

Still reeling from a fifteen-year-old girl inexplicably setting herself on fire when he identifies himself, Detective Kurt Wallander has to focus on an unusually violent new case when a prominent politician is killed with an axe and scalped.


The problem with hiring an intense, talented actor like Kenneth Branagh and then giving him an embarrassingly ordinary script and placing him in a production without atmosphere or energy is that he rather sticks out like a sore thumb. Therefore, Branagh frequently marches around with an intensity the script hasn’t provided for and has to look surprised when the story involves child abuse, human trafficking and prostitution. Hasn’t he seen a detective drama in the last twenty years? That’s what they’re all about. As an executive producer, he certainly has to take some of the blame himself but it’s a shame to see his talent wasted here. I won’t bother with episode two, and you shouldn’t bother with episode one.

This Wallander episode contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and subject of human trafficking, prostitution and child abuse and unpleasant scene of someone setting themselves on fire, brief gory blade violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.