Kurt Wallander, the police inspector at the center of Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell’s popular Wallander novels (and several movie adaptations), is well served here in a screenplay Mankell penned just for the big screen and that director Charlotte Brandstrom has turned into an old-fashioned, taut, well-crafted thriller—complete with several wonderful twists. Following days of turbulent protests over a Ystad museum’s exhibition on the Prophet Muhammad, the museum director is murdered on the same night someone blows up the town’s power station. Most townspeople and politicians immediately assume Islamists are to blame for both crimes. Wallander intuits that something else is in play and sets out to discover what. Drolly played by Krister Henriksson, this incarnation of Wallander is baffled by both new technology and the shifting role of women on the force, but is still—quietly—the sharpest thinker in the room. Part of the thrill of Revenge is the way it delivers old-school pleasures—a plot that turns smartly but without forced complexity; a tale that unfolds in layers that deepen character and move the story forward; and all of it done with slow, simmering tension. Complementing the script’s mechanics is the pitch-perfect casting, from gruff secretaries and ambitious newbie cops, to steely eyed but clueless top-ranking officials. It’s solid popcorn fare.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2012