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"Zen" Vendetta (2011)

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Disappointing adaptation

Author: sagrat from United States
19 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a fan of the Aurelio Zen series of detective novels by Michael Dibdin. The voice in these captivating and compelling novels is fresh. Sadly, the BBC, which usually does a pretty good job with producing such crime and mystery dramas, really dropped the ball on this one, so it is no surprise that the series was canceled after only the first three episodes. Rufus Sewell tries to give us a sardonic Zen, but is lacking in the real zen of Zen - surprising to me, as he is one actor whom I usually quite enjoy. Also, for some reason the BBC decided to shift a large focus on to only one of Zen's love interests - and introduces her in this first tale ... yet she first appears in the second book in the Zen series and sticks around for only 3 more. Maybe this is due to the fact that, in the world of Zen, this was third chronologically and the BBC decided it needed to be first due to it's more "catchy" title?? Also, lots of "atmospheric" filler padding out the time, when more of the book could have been added to much better satisfaction. Disappointingly, what was so brilliantly done with Val McDermid's Tony Hill series did not make it to Michael Didbin's Aurelio Zen. Questions one might ask is why didn't/couldn't they find an English- speaking Italian actor, or an Italian-British actor, for the role of Zen? Why was Zen's mother cast as so young and sexy? Why did this seem more like a travelogue or vacation bureau promotion than a serious drama? I guess what I am really saying is this : Read the novels and get into the mind and Italian locations of Aurelio Zen yourself. One thing I did while reading these novels was to have my Google Earth booted up, so that I could virtually walk around the places Zen went ... and he gets around to many fascinating Italian cities.

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