The Killing (Forbrydelsen)-Volume One (2007)

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Released 4-May-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 550:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kristoffer Nyholm
Henrik Ruben Genz
Birger Larsen
Hans Fabian Wullenweber
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Frans Bak


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Murder, intrigue and political machinations seem to be the province of Scandinavia at the moment. The Swedish book and now film series of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo probably started the phenomenon and The Killing (Forbrydelsen), a Danish TV drama series, is another superb example. There is something about the cold north, in this case Copenhagen, which lends itself to the dark side. Maybe it's the leaden skies and all embracing fog, the grey, old world buildings or the tundra like wastelands.

     The Killing is a 20 part drama series that traces the jellyfish-like tendrils of a murder investigation. In an innovative move each episode (of roughly 50 minutes) details one day in the investigation. This DVD set, released by SBS and Madman Entertainment, is Volume 1 containing the first 10 episodes. It's no spoiler to say that by the end of Volume 1 the mystery remains deep and baffling. 24 was the first series that exploited a timetable format. It's a nice idea as the drama is kept fresh and the audience often feels as though they are experiencing that long day, or in the case of The Killing, those long 20 days.

     Describing the plot of The Killing is no easy affair as the twists and turns and revelations make it a moveable feast. Here's the set up - a young woman in night clothes is running, stumbling through a moonlit forest. She is bloodied and frightened. Torchlight stabs through the darkness. Is there one person following her or more? She hides behind a tree, hopeful of eluding the pursuer or pursuers. Will she escape? Well, as this show is called The Killing the odds are not great.

     Sarah Lund (Sofie Grobel) is the head of investigations in the homicide department of a Copenhagen police branch. She has a teenage son and a Swedish boyfriend. The decision has been made for them to shift to Sweden and it is her last day in the department. Parties are planned and the new guy begins moving in his stuff. When a call comes in about a missing college student Sarah and the new guy, Jan Meyer Soren Malling, decide to team up to look into it. A fitting send off and welcome.

     Elsewhere removalist, Theis (Bjarne Henriksen) has a surprise for wife, Pernille (Ann Eleonora Jorgensen). He has bought a new bigger house for the whole family to live in. A bonus is the large upstairs loft where teenage daughter Nanna can hang out. Little does he realise that within hours that dream will be shattered.

     Arriving at the scene, Sarah's instincts lead her to suspect the worst. Looking through the deserted moorlands, there are only a few clues as to the girl's whereabouts. After meeting with Pernille it is clear that Nanna is the missing girl. Attempts to find her location from school friend fail as the best friend skips out of class. Something to hide? It’s an easy day to play hooky at the college as this day marks the visit of a very important pair of guests. It is Mayoral election time and the wily incumbent and the equally scheming challenger Troels Hartmann (Lars Mikkelsen brother of Mads Mickelsen, the bad guy from Casino Royale) have come to debate the future of the city.

     When a car is pulled from a canal in a wind swept location and a body is discovered in the boot, it is no surprise and no spoiler that Nanna is the unfortunate girl. What is a surprise is that the car is registered to the challenger's election team. Let the intrigue begin…

     The Killing is an expertly directed TV series. Having watched only the first 10 episodes I am hungry for the remainder. Creator Soren Sveistrup was also the head writer and keeps the story moving along briskly but never too fast to prevent us from being able to absorb the plot turns and enjoy the characterisations. The acting is superb throughout. Sofie Grabol is excellent as Sarah Lund, as is Lars Mickelsen as the scheming, womanising politician. In fact there is barely a weak link in the performances.

     The Killing is a neat idea which easily overcomes the possibility of gimmickry. It is an expert thriller and one of the better TV shows in the last few years.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Killing was shot on high definition digital video. It was shown on TV in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This ratio is preserved for the DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     This volume comprises 10 episodes spread over 3 DVD's. There are 4 episodes on the first DVD with 3 on each of the other two. Each of the episodes is approximately 50 minutes.

     Putting 4 hours of content on a dual layered DVD can still cause problems. This volume does not suffer from any aliasing nor are there any technical defects such as artefacts or damage to the masters. However, there is evidence of compression throughout leading to some crush in the night and dark room scenes. This is noticeable on a larger display but may not be on smaller displays. It requires a slight adjustment of the eye. Although the problem appears worse on the first DVD it is still evident on the others. Otherwise this is a good looking series with colours fairly stable bearing in mind the cold, muted look of the whole series. Flesh tones are accurate.

     There are subtitles in English. Not speaking Danish I cannot tell whether they are an accurate reflection of the dialogue although I did notice one error when a character suggested that another character had gone "balmy" instead of "barmy". Probably a spell check error!

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The Killing carries a Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 224Kb/s.

     It would have been nice to have a surround track to intensify the mood in some of the more dramatic scenes. However the 2.0 track is perfectly adequate. The dialogue is clear and would no doubt be easy to understand for Danish speakers. The actors appear to be in audio sync. There are no technical problems with the sound.

    The score by composer Frans Bak is suitably moody and dramatic.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras provided. Perhaps when the second volume comes out it might contain some interviews about the show. Maybe the production company did not want to give away too much about the conclusion of the series in this set.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Killing has been released as an All Region DVD.

Summary

     The Killing is a tense thriller series that borrows a timeline idea from 24 but uses it in an intelligent fashion. Twenty days is about the right time to maintain tension without leaving you with the thought that the characters never need to drink or sleep.

     The DVD is an accurate reflection of the show as broadcast. It is not cutting edge television either visually or sonically but the show is engaging nonetheless.

     Some extras would have been nice.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Thanks for the review and recommendation - John N REPLY POSTED