“ Genre: Television / Suitable for 15 years and over / Actors: Sofie Gråbøl, Lars Mikkelsen, Søren Malling, Bjarne Henriksen, Jonas Leth Hansen ... / DVD released 2011-04-04 at Entertainment One / Arrow / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen „
The Wire was credited for breathing fresh life in TV crime drama. Thats true. Although it was preceded by Homicide: Life On The Streets, The Wire has heaps more style; both in its characters, setting, and story telling. It told stories at a heart-slowing pace. Stories that needed to be told at such a pace, due to the stories linking and twisting in and out of each other. Characters would build slowly in a setting that got denser with each hour long episode. Watching The Wire felt like reading a novel - not just because of the richness of its story telling, but its pace let you take things in, helping you sink into it.
The Killing is being refereed to as the Danish Wire, and rightly so. Firstly, if your a fan of The Wire - The Killing is a no-brainer. Buy it right away. However, don't expect a repeat of The Wire, but it will - for 20 episodes - fill the hole the final scene of The Wire left. I must point out now too, The Killing, is not a rip of The Wire. Far from it.
The Killing both gets of on the wrong and right footing in the first 10 minutes. The first scene is a staple of TV/film crime drama. A woman, bloodied and panicking runs for her life through some woods. The flicker of a flash light cuts in and out behind trees. Thats where following the formula ends for The Killing, as the next scene finds a police officer creeping through an abandoned warehouse investigating an apparent crime scene, only to find it a hoax set up by colleagues. Just when you expect the murder case to start developing (due to the obvious way they opened) everything stops, and a totally new story is told for almost an hour. Its this clear defiance of following formula with this two hit combo that sets the tone for The Killing. Characters find their way to the screen only for the writers to push and pull the misconceptions your already building about them around like putty - then to re-mould them into something else. That kind of invigorating story telling is only really used to dress the real core of The Killing - essentially a who-done-it.
A who-done-it of the highest order. 20 hours, and every hour is another guessing game. How they manage to keep not only the pace, but the suspense up it mind blowing. First rate story telling.
The Killing is known as Forbrydelsen in Denmark, where it is set and made. The translation of Forbrydelsen is actually 'The Crime', I assume 'The Killing' was used to make it slightly more sell-able to UK audiences. 'The Crime' however, is a much more accurate way to describe this show. Calling it 'The Crime' says much more about what the makers are trying to say, than The Killing. The shows key is to showing how the murder has affected everyone involved. How it spreads from the murder scene to friends, family, to suspects and to those trying to solve the crime. The most important group effected by the crime is the family, and its the families story - or how the families story is told - that really gives The Killing its chill, and more importantly its drive.
The family are a big focus in the first few episode of The Killing, especially in the very first episode. The families discovery, and eventual bereavement is almost told in real time. You have no choice but to watch this family get torn apart in every dark, horrifying detail. From the mothers helpless panic to the father blind defiance and eventually how they heart-wrenchingly tell their other children. The way this part of the story is told in the first few episodes and throughout is the how, along with the guessing game, is how the show is driven.
Its a show which is brilliantly rewarding. Not a second is wasted, and paying attention it essential. Not so you don't miss a clue that might help you figure it out before the end, but so you can really engross yourself in a pitch black, riveting story.
*****ORIGINALLY POSTED BY ME ON AMAZON UNDER THE USER NAME ALEX HAMMOND (MY NAME) PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VALIDATE THIS. This is my review and not copied content. *****
We first got into the American version of this series and enjoyed it, so when we found out that it had been based on a Danish original series we were on the look out for the box set. Annoyingly, as it wasn't long until the Christmas buying season, we couldn't find it on offer anywhere but decided to splurge and got the box set for £38 from Amazon...quite a lot considering they're now selling it for just under £16, grrrrrr!
The series comes complete with all the usual pamhlets inside with episode and cast details and is in the standard box set box, much like a book expect instead of pages they're plastic holders for dvds! These tell the story of the death of a young woman called Nanna Birk Larssen, and the subsequent police investigation and affects on her family, whilst combining it with the run up to the Copenhagen mayoral elections. The plot is very intricately woven, with excellent character development and lots of tense moments.
We started watching it about 3 months ago but, due to my inability to stay awake once settled under a blanket on the sofa, had been making slow progress and were struggling to "get into" it properly.
This weekend though, thanks to bad weather and a bad back, we decided to have a "Killing fest" and devoured what was left of them in 2 days. By 8pm last night we had 3 episodes left and decided that there was no way we could go to bed until we'd finished them all so duly made a huge coffee each to keep us awake (I know, it's sad, but 11pm is late for me now!!).
I don't know what had made us suddenly addicted to it, but we had definitely grown more of an interest in the characters, there was much more action going on and the whudunnit element just got bigger and bigger and more and more confusing! Every time you were conviced you knew the culprit, your theory was blown apart by another development. Whilst this is proof of very good writing, it also got very frustrating in the end because there were just literally so many of these moments and some of them repeated themselves too, so at times you felt you were going round in circles.
Whilst we both enjoyed this series immensely (and are now planning on watching the second series) and it was very gripping, we both felt that it left quite a few threads untied and questions unanswered...this might not be so bad if the second series dealt with them, but from what we saw at the end of series one and what we know about series two, they're completely unrelated, story-wise. So we ended up talking for a good hour after it had finished about all the doubts we had and questions that we didn't think had been answered. It's difficult to go into detail without giving the plot away!
If, like us, you'd seen the American series, don't let this put you off the original Danish one. This one was by far superior, both in terms of the characters, their relationships and their developments and the storyline. And, whilst there were some similarities between the two, there seemed to be much more depth and atmosphere to the Danish version.
All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping, if frustrating, series, that had us both hooked and left us eagerly awaiting the second series, but at £38 it was definitely overpriced and I would not pay that much for the second series.