On February 27th Acorn TV is releasing the Nordic neo-noir series Rebecka Martinsson. All 8 episodes of the first season will be available on DVD. Is it worth checking out? Read on to find out!
Sweden is suddenly known for its realistic crime dramas here lately, typically with a very strong female lead, and Rebecka Martinsson is one of the new shows that fit right in among them. The series is in Swedish with English subtitles. Martinsson (played adeptly by Ida Engvoll) is a successful lawyer in Stockholm. She tried to leave her hometown of Kurravaara in the past but now a recent violent death in the town forces her to confront what she thought she had left behind. Is there more going on in the small town than meets the eye? Is Rebecka prepared for the secrets she will uncover?
With a blue hue and natural lighting permeating through the series you can almost feel the cold bite of the air around you. The atmosphere is excellent for a show of this genre. The series is based on 4 crime novels written by Asa Larsson. It seems that this first season is made up of multiple books, so rather than one continuous plot you basically get 4 movies with a bit of an overarching character story.
Rebecka Martinsson is a solid show with your standard story beats for this type of series. The setting definitely helps mark the show as different from your American crime shows with it’s dark, moody snowbound areas. The crimes themselves are not overly complex but there is a nice balance of detail and intricacy without ever losing the audience in the process. The slower more methodical pacing gives good tension to the events but that never seems to overstay it’s welcome. There is a bit of a sense of humor to the show but it does take itself seriously.
As with most Acorn Media releases the main character is the focus of the show, and Rebecka Martinsson is a nice complex character. She obviously has things in the past that she hasn’t gotten over yet and these unresolved issues slowly come up in the show. Ida Engvoll gives a very human performance, with a dark undercurrent of mystery on top of decisions that make you question her motives and drive. Its that seeming inconsistency, at times misguided actions, and mistakes that characterize the show as solidly in the neo-noir genre and in my opinion makes the lead just that much more interesting.
Fredrik Edfeldt directed all 8 episodes of the series so the show has a very consistent tone and look across its entirety. This is only the second Swedish TV drama to be set above the Arctic Circle so it does have a unique look to it. Before writing the novels Asa Larsson was a tax lawyer, just like Rebecka, so that could explain why the character seems so well fleshed out.
Each episode is 45 minutes long in widescreen for about 370 minutes of entertainment on 2 DVDs. The audio is in Swedish but English subtitles are included. MSRP is $49.99. The show contains strong language, nudity, sexual situations, violence and disturbing images.
Rebecka Martinsson Final Thoughts:
If you have never experienced a crime show from Sweden it’s certainly worth the investment to check it out as they make solid entries in the genre. Rebecka Martinsson is a well-made show with a good cast that should please fans of procedurals. With only 8 episodes you just may find yourself binge-watching the whole thing. I recommend checking the show out either through Acorn TV streaming (available in HD) or purchasing a physical copy from Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgment or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.