A very mediocre film of a terrific mystery/thriller novel. Like the novel, Swedish detective Kurt Wallander investigates the murder of a local real-estate agent, only to come across a plot by white South Africans to assassinate Nelson Mandela. The novel is an excellent mix of police procedural and espionage, and the film does capture a certain "Day Of The Jackal" vibe.
The pluses: Rolf Lassgard is an excellent Wallander, and Jesper Christensen is creepier than hell as the villainous former KGB agent. And though it doesn't seem to hold a lasting impact like in the novels, it's still nice to see here that Wallander is heavily effected by having to take another person's life.
On the downside, this film is just really ugly to watch. It looks like a TV movie from the '70s, and I don't mean in the sense of production values - the print just looks dirty and bland. The visual style is nothing to write home about, either, which doesn't help.
An excellent American adaptation of a Swedish mystery novel. Walter Matthau is wonderful as Jake Martin (from the original character, Martin Beck), and I wish that they had adapted at least a few more of the Beck novels with him continuing the role. An excellent supporting cast with the likes of Bruce Dern and Louis Gossett Jr. The characters are very human - Matthau's Martin might be our lead, but he's at times a jerk, Dern's Leo Larsen is obnoxious, but a dedicated cop, etc. Think of it as a less "cool" version of "Bullitt", complete with a chase at the end which is certainly inspired by the one from "Bullitt", but still worth seeing in its own right. Frankly, there's nothing about this movie that I don't like, but what keeps me from giving it the full five stars is that, having read the original novel, the movie does lack some of the depth and dimension.
Excellent movie - a really strong adaptation of the novel, keeping the important elements while removing some of the less important details, etc. The characters were translated well, and cast perfectly. Where the novel starts off rather slowly and keeps going after the actual mystery is over, the movie does an excellent job of maintaining a suspenseful atmosphere the whole time. Visually, it's beautiful - slick and stylish all the way. Hopefully this one will hit the US.