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Reviews & Ratings for
"Zen" More at IMDbPro »

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Bergerac with style?

Author: lucas739 from United Kingdom
23 May 2011

I think everything has already been said in the above reviews about this series of three 90 minute episodes.

Its a stylish, beautifully shot,well acted,classy piece of entertainment, with fairly decent story lines with Rome as the backdrop.

Though i haven't watched the third instalment i felt the second 'Cabal' was a definite improvement on the first 'Vendetta' which i thought was slightly preposterous

No, it won't appeal to everyone, think of it as Bergerac with style, it has an upbeat Midsommer Murders pace to it.Like someone has said, it bucks the current trend of hard nosed police dramas, and it works, give it a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised like i was.

Some might condemn this as escapist TV but what's wrong with that? we all need to get away sometimes so why not summer in Rome, i can't think of a nicer place.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Coolest Detective On Television

Author: Angelus2 from United Kingdom
14 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Aurelio Zen is a detective in Italy who is extremely good at solving crimes, however; this talent gains him the attention of the people higher up the food chain, who have plans for the detective.

I must say I was swayed by the beautiful scenery that appeared on the promos and then I found myself laughing at the blunders of Aurelio Zen, a man who is too honest for his own good, he has a beautiful secretary using him (supposedly), an angry boss who takes everything out on him, senior bosses who scheme their nefarious plans with poor Zen at the center and a mother who wants him to get back together with his ex wife. Oh and he's taken up smoking again! The three episodes are intertwined with a mystery as well as the trials and tribulations of Zen's life, at times the mystery tends to lose emphasis but Rufus Sewell does a wonderful job in keeping the viewer entertained. Plus there is the beautiful Caterina Murino who plays Zen's love.

Unfortunately I've just heard this show is no more...Which is a shame because all the other detectives on television are exactly the same, dull. But Zen is different, he's suave,sexy, intelligent and mundane.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Stiff Upper Lip in Italy

Author: B24 from Arizona
31 July 2011

A kind of mix between mini-series and standard detective fare. The unique aspect is that the very British cast lives in Rome and the detective bit is more Columbo than Sherlock Holmes. It succeeds mainly because of technical filming excellence, acting, and direction rather than any clear sense of originality.

The comparison to early James Bond in looks and feel is likely deliberate. Everything from the credits to music to those creepily retro narrow ties and tight pants fairly shouts 1963. The only nod to 2011 is how cell phones seem to control major parts of the plot. Everything else could just as well be transposed from similar films from fifty years ago, namely the storyline and romantic subplot. To be fair, it is difficult in this kind of fiction to avoid cliché, but I keep hoping that something new will turn up rather than the usual car chase scenes.

Still, the scenery is beautiful and the ambiance captivating. I hope it portends more episodes in the future.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: ladybrisen777 from United States
18 June 2012

I just wanted to say that I love love love this show! Rufus is undoubtedly soo sexy and he plays his role very well. I love the fact that the atmosphere was different. That it was filmed in Italy. I think , and I can only speak for sure for myself, but we grow tired of seeing the same places over and over again. Do not get me wrong I love New York city but how many shows, movies and videos have been shot there. There is something terribly romantic about the atmosphere in Zen. It is something we do not see every day. I truly hope that someone picks this up and makes a comeback with it. However I feel it will only work if they Keep Rufus and not make any changes, just do it like you did before =)) I read a comment that the producer or someone of that nature said they pulled the plug because there was too many crime dramas on TV already. Well you could say o I'm not going to drive this car because too many ppl have it, or I don't want to go blonde because they are a dime a dozen. SO what if it is another crime drama! It was good. AND it WAS different.. the location was wonderful. I say bring it back. =)) and if anyone knows anything, please drop me a line. Thank you

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What was BBC thinking to can this series!

Author: seraphim-10
5 February 2012

I've just watched the third episode on ABC in Australia and I'm kicking myself that I missed the first two. What a great series. I can't believe the BBC canned it. Great story, characters, pace, had me thinking and trying to keep up with what the inscrutable Zen was doing. Sad that there won't be anymore.

I've just watched the third episode on ABC in Australia and I'm kicking myself that I missed the first two. What a great series. I can't believe the BBC canned it. Great story, characters, pace, had me thinking and trying to keep up with what the inscrutable Zen was doing. Sad that there won't be anymore.

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Quite astonishingly bad

Author: RobNYNY from United States
17 June 2014

I generally like British mystery movies as being competently written and competently acted. This is a huge exception.

Posing British actors as Italians just does not ring true. I know that they are trying to be fake Italian as best they can, but anyone who is of Italian origin or has even been to Italy will laugh it off as if they were pretending to be Chinese.

Rufus Sewell rivals Nicholas Cage for his inability to form facial expressions.

This is worth watching for its terribleness factor. You will keep asking yourself, "How could this have been made? With this terrible actor?"

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The art of Zen

Author: Prismark10 from United Kingdom
9 February 2014

Aurelio Zen is a fictional Italian detective created by the British crime writer Michael Dibdin and the BBC co-production was a brave attempt to adapt the stories with European co-producers.

Filmed in Italy with a mainly British cast, Rufus Sewell throws away his recent run of playing Hollywood villains to become sharp suited Zen, a committed and tenacious detective. Also because he is Venetian working in Rome he also has to deal with a lot of politics as his more inferior fellow detectives get by with minimum effort as they enjoy patronage that he does not have.

Sewell really took the role by the scruff of a Valentino shirt collar. With location filming in Rome, high fashion, ace detective work and having Caterina Murino as your love interest he certainly knew he was into a good thing.

The mysteries were engaging enough and like the BBC adaptation of Wallander, you soon got used to the mixture of accents. Unfortunately the series was not renewed, the viewing figures were good but not just high enough to warrant renewal. It might had been a marginal decision as more Zen adaptations would had been nice to have.

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Zen and the Art of Zen

Author: A. F. Waddell from California, USA
6 July 2013

I highly recommend Zen, an offering of PBS's Masterpiece Contemporary series, which originally aired in 2011. Based upon the late Michael Dibdin's novel, three ninety-minute episodes were created.

Get past the initial "Mr. Cool" physical persona of its protagonist, the excellent actor Rufus Sewell - and dig the witty, understated dialog and delivery; the excellent cast; the delicious locations; the whole damn vibe.

Ironically, Sewell found a perfect role for himself in Aurelio Zen: PBS soon however had a change of management and the series went poof into the Strata of Lost Entertainment Excellence – at least the show is in good company. It's our loss that there were no more episodes (in a spooky way the third episode ended with a perfect moment). "Vendetta", "Cabal" and "Ratking" are available on DVD, likely headed to becoming an overpriced cult item. Enjoy.

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Good police series set in Italy -surprised only one series made

Author: paudie from Ireland
4 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed the only series made of Zen and was surprised that the BBC haven't made any more. Each episode is 90 minutes long and features Aurelio Zen, a detective in the Rome police force. Zen, played by Rufus Sewell has a reputation for doing things by the book, a trait that doesn't seem to be shared by all of his colleagues.

This reputation means that he is asked to undertake specific "sensitive" investigations by representatives of the Italian government, who want them to be handled in a particular way. They also make it clear that if the results aren't to their satisfaction his career will be in jeopardy. The viewer wants to see how Zen can stay true to his morality without ruining his career. We also get to see his private life, which is also pretty complicated!

The series was shot in Italy but with actors playing the Italian characters being nearly all native English speakers. This is fine but then along comes Italian actress Caterina Murino playing one of the characters with strong Italian accent. This piece of casting jarred for me a little but since Caterina is gorgeous I've learned to be okay with it.

Rufus Sewell is excellent as the suave but vulnerable Zen, always trying to do the right thing, usually under difficult circumstances.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

sloppy filmmaking

Author: jzpresto from United States
20 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While the performers and settings look wonderful, the craft of creating a plausible action movie gets lost on the Autostrada. Three bloopers: 1) Normally, a cell phone that falls underwater goes out of use. Not so Zen's; after his struggle in the underground lake, he's back on his cell phone, talking to his new girlfriend. 2) And in that cave adventure, he loses the flashlight to the mysterious girl. Yet, a few moments later, he's got it in hand again, finding his way out. 3) When Zen escapes from his three, heavily-armed captors, he doesn't so much fight his way out as much as the camera and film editor help him out with quick, evasive camera shots.

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