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Wallander: Firewall (2009)

If you look into the world of statistics or the more philosophical assessment of cause and effect when studying coincidence, the first myth dispelled is any kind of causal connection between the two or more phenomena under study. That these events have occurred is mere synchronicity no matter what the observer may wish to believe to the contrary. When it comes to coincidence in fiction, it’s a lazy way of having different events occur at or about the same time and then have our hero find these are not random but actually interconnected. So, before you can say, Jumping Jiminy is an amusement park recreating the fun and excitement of Pinocchio and nothing to do with the game of cricket or Jesus, our detective has drawn venn diagrams showing how they all overlap and that explains whodunnit. Which, perforce, brings us to Wallander: Firewall (2009) (produced by Yellow Bird — originally the company was owned by Henning Mankell but it’s now a Danish company). The original title was Brandvägg and the eighth book in the series.

So Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) is looking even more hang-dog than usual, what with his marriage going down the tubes so, without telling him, his daughter Linda (Jeany Spark) puts his details up on a dating website. In due course, there’s a hit from Ella Lindfeldt (Orla Brady) and, despite him standing her up on their first “date”, they seem to be striking some sparks off each other. In another part of town, a man is found dead in the city square not far away from the cash machine. There’s no obvious cause of death and his widow is convinced it can’t be a heart attack. The man was supposed to be as fit as a flea (metaphorically speaking) and likely to live for at least one-hundred years. Meanwhile, on the coast road, a young girl called Sonja Hokberg (Susannah Fielding) has murdered a taxi driver while her sister, Susana Hokberg (Rebecca Egan) looked on. During the interview, she frankly admits stabbing him multiple times, asserting that nothing matters any more.

Susannah Fielding and Rebecca Egan after the murder

OK so now things heat up. There’s a power failure at the police station and the electronic locks on the cells all fail in the “open” position so our murderess is able to just walk out and disappear. Like wow, man! When the lights go out, how many people head for the door of their cells to see if they can walk out? Well, only this one girl, it seems. Presumably, it could not have been preplanned because no-one communicates with her while in police custody. So it’s just a miraculous coincidence she’s able to escape. Then the folk down at the morgue discover the body of the healthy dead man has disappeared. Wallander applies a little thought and deduces that this theft was possible because there was no power and the electric locks failed in the open position. Anyway, when Wallander decides to break into this dead man’s flat, he chooses exactly the same time as the killer. The only reason Wallander does not have his head blown off is that, just as the killer is about to fire, he trips on a loose mat. How are we doing in the coincidence stakes? Anyway, in due course, all the lights go off again all over town —three’s a charm, so they say. When they investigate the find the body of Sonja Hokberg has been used to short-circuit the main fuses. She’s fried to a crisp. In due, the body of her boyfriend shows up. He’s been fed through an ice grinder so there’s not much of him left apart from a few smears on the crushed ice — what a waste since no cocktails can be made with that mixture. It’s always refreshing to find a killer with a genuinely gory approach to his work.

Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hiddleston and Luke Allen-Gale watching the computers

As if it could not get any worse, it then gets worse as it turns out that, three years earlier, Sonja had been raped by the taxi driver’s son but the sprog had not been prosecuted because loyal dad gave him an alibi. So it was just an unfortunate coincidence dad should turn up to collect Sonja from the beach when she was past caring what happened to her. Oh, yes, and that death near the cash machine — well the place of the death becomes a clue. And there’s a big coincidence when Robert Modin (Luke Allen-Gale) interrupts one of Wallander’s dates with Ella. He’s supposed to be under the control of Magnus Martinsso (Tom Hiddleston), but our young detective was less than diligent. There are other coincidence but it’s getting a little boring to draw them to your attention and they would be spoilers and we can’t have your enjoyment spoiled by giving away key events), now can we.

In short, Wallander: Firewall is terrible, being hopelessly contrived from start to finish. The real world never works like this and, no matter how well acted this may be, the result is just annoying.

For reviews of other films and television programs by Yellow Bird:
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest or Luftslottet som sprängdes (2009)
The Girl Who Played With Fire or Flickan som lekte med elden (2009)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or Män som hatar kvinnor (2009)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Headhunters or Hodejegerne (2011)
Wallander: Before the Frost (2012)
Wallander: The Dogs of Riga (2012)
Wallander: An Event in Autumn (2012)
Wallander: Faceless Killers (2010)
Wallander: The Fifth Woman (2010)
Wallander: The Man Who Smiled (2010)
Wallander: One Step Behind (2008)
Wallander: Sidetracked (2009)

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