Monday, 17 June 2013

Beck: The Eye of the Storm.

When my wife visited her sister in Stockholm I could not let that opportunity past without asking her to bring back some Swedish DVD’s. The Scandinavians are, as we know, keen on their crime drama and generally its very well done as witnessed on BBC4 on most Saturday evenings. This DVD was part of a series of feature films and TV movies originally based on ten novels known collectively as The Story of Crime authored by husband and wife team Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Written between 1965 and 1975, all ten were turned into feature films and then the Swedish studios continued making movies based on the characters contained within the books. Martin Beck is a Swedish police Inspector and is portrayed by Peter Haber, his best detective Gunvald Larsson is played by well known Swedish actor Mikael Persbrant (In a Better World 2010) both have been in all of the 26 made for TV movies starting in 1997.  Beck: I stormers oga (2009) is number 25 in the series.

Gunvald Larsson as played by Mikael Persbrant.
The story begins with the discovery of young women’s charred remains. The Swedish Security Services (SAPO) is in charge of the case.  SAPO discover that Gunvald had met up with the dead woman the same day as she was killed and that there was an international police warrant out for her arrest. She was a known member of an environmental organisation who carries out terrorist action against selected targets worldwide. SAPO inform Beck that his top detective is suspected of being involved in the woman’s murder but Beck needs to keep Gunvald free to investigate both the killing and to discover the intended target. A race against time ensues.

Yes it does come over like a made for TV movie, and yes it has a similar formulaic approach as other Scandinavian neo noir crime drama but in fairness that’s not a bad thing. It’s an exciting drama with some decent set pieces and a charismatic leading actor in Mikael Persbrant. Perhaps in due course we may see episodes of Beck on British TV?

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