The Hounds of Riga (1995) Poster

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Brilliant TV movie with a perfect Rolf Lassgård
John Geerts6 October 2007
what a strange site is IMDb. How can you deliver such a low votes to a nearly perfect TV-movie, The end of the site to my belief.

Rolf Lassgård plays perfectly his roll as Kurt Wallander, and he is more in control than the book character. Now you really believe this world.

And it is really beautiful done. Director and crew deliver a perfect job. And they reward the viewer.

What is left is a brilliant TV-movie, with a stunning Rolf Lassgård, and also the rest of the cast has perfect contributions.

I read the book before but this is one of the few occasions that film is better than book. A big 9!
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Not bad, but definitely not the best Wallander flick!
Koen23 June 2005
It is winter, 1991. Inspector Kurt Wallander's team at the Ystad police station face a new challenge: two corpses, frozen together in a gruesome embrace, have been washed ashore on the remote Swedish coastline. The dead men were Eastern European criminals, but what looks like a gangland hit takes on a much more sinister aspect when Wallander travels across the Baltic Sea to Latvia, a nation in the throws of the massive upheaval that will lead to its independence from the Soviet Union. Wallander is thrown into an icy, alien world of police surveillance, veiled threats and lies, coming to understand what it is to live in a nation in which democracy is still a dream. Only his dogged, almost subconscious desire to see justice done will lead him to the shadowy figures he pursues.

Compared to one of the latest Wallender flicks 'Mannen som log (2003).' You can conclude that the script and acting are not so good, but still a very entertaining movie!
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The Dogs of Riga
Tweekums4 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
When a life raft containing two murdered men washes up on the coast near Ystad Wallander and the team are soon investigating. An old receipt on one of the men suggests they are probably Latvian; contact with the police there confirms that they were involved with the Russian Mafia. Kurt is soon joined by chain-smoking Latvian policeman Major Karlis Liepa. There isn't much to be done there though as the crime almost certainly took place in Latvia. It looks like it is all over when Karlis returns to Riga but the next day he is murdered and the local police wonder if it could have anything to do with what happened in Sweden. Kurt and a Latvian speaking colleague fly to Riga and learn that Karlis had been undertaking a private investigation into corruption within the police force that hadn't changed much since the Soviet days. They find themselves being watched and are asked what they know about Karlis' investigation. Kurt also meets the dead man's widow and she asks him to help her find the file her husband has compiled. Kurt says that there is nothing he can do but is ultimately persuaded to return to Riga unofficially after flying back to Sweden. Once back he doesn't have any protection and it isn't long before it looks as if he has made a fatal mistake. Away from the case Kurt is failing at romance once again.

This was a decent enough story with plenty of thrilling moments… however it was also somewhat unlikely; would a Swedish police officer really try to undertake a private investigation in a foreign country where he didn't even speak the language? We also have to believe that when the bullets start to fly this large man is barely scratched while all of those with him die! On the plus side it nicely captures the sense of paranoia in post-Soviet Latvia where trust was in short supply. The cast do a fine job; once again Rolf Lassgård impresses as Wallander and guest star Benny Poulsen was good as Major Liepa. Overall I'd say that despite being a bit far-fetched this was an entertaining Wallander story.

These comments are based on watching in Swedish with English subtitles.
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Fascinating Historical Document That Contains Some Plot Implausibilities
l_rawjalaurence7 January 2015
Watching THE DOGS OF RIGA makes us realize just how much has changed in the twenty-five years since the Baltic republics achieved independence from the Soviet Union.

Set in Riga in 1991, director Pelle Berglund creates a world trying to establish itself after decades of colonization, in which the Soviet influence is still strong, and Russian remains the principal language of communication. The KGB still holds sway, and the local police force is riven with corruption. Kurt Wallander (Rolf Lassgård) comes from Sweden to solve a case, and is immediately plunged into a world where the distinctions between right and wrong simply do not exist. He is shown entering a series of gray, faceless-looking buildings full of dark corridors and unexpected nooks and crannies, where people can readily spy on him. The snow- covered boulevards are certainly wide, but the cars are either old- fashioned or uniform (the Lada is still the most popular make available). The only form of entertainment available in the Soviet- style hotel is a self-styled "erotic show," where a few listless- looking topless women kick their legs in the air to the sound of taped music. When Wallander enters, he is immediately conscious of being watched.

In this kind of environment, it's hardly surprising that THE DOGS OF RIGA comes across as a Cold War-style spy thriller, in which no one trusts one another, and Wallander is left totally confused as to how to solve the case of three murders, including a Latvian major (Benny Poulsen) who had previously come to Sweden to collaborate with the local police force. Eventually Wallander teams up with the major's widow (Charlotte Sieling), and together they manage to work out what happened, although they are put in grave danger during a climactic shootout scene on the roof of one of the gray-looking buildings.

The story is not without its implausibilities: Wallander's ability to recover from his various wounds - a bloody leg, a bullet in the torso - is quasi-bionic; and it appears that he has no problem in being able to communicate in Swedish, even though the Latvians have their own language. We might also wonder why the local detectives cannot manage to solve the case, rather than having to rely on a Swedish colleague to do the work for them.

Nonetheless THE DOGS OF RIGA is worth watching, as it gives us an insight into the central character's complicated private life, which seems so much less successful than his professional life.
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