Love 'Inspector Montalbano' and feel that it does a great job bringing freshness to a well-worn genre (not intended as a bad thing, love crime/mystery drama but there's a lot out there with familiar tropes to each other).
Was not sure how its prequel series 'The Young Montalbano' would fare when hearing of it. It sounded interesting to see the great 'Inspector Montalbano' characters in their youth, but also questioned the necessity. With that being said, had mixed expectations before watching 'Endeavour', the prequel series to one of my favourites 'Inspector Morse' and it ended up nearly as great. The same goes for 'The Young Montalbano', it must have been no easy feat to live up to such a good show and have a younger actor for the title character filling in very big shoes but 'The Young Montalbano' manages it splendidly.
Some may question the physical resemblances of the younger cast to 'Inspector Montalbano's' cast for continuity's sake, Mimi is a notable example. That was not an issue at all to me. "Seven Mondays" is a great episode and a great way to end Season 1, but is a step down from the previous episodes which were more consistent in the storytelling. Here in "Seven Mondays", both cases are intriguing, fun and compelling, but the taut, better developed and wonderfully strange second case fares better than the still engaging but slightly routine and rushed first case with the elderly man.
However, "Seven Mondays", as hoped and expected, is beautifully shot and the scenery is stunning, making those who've never been to Italy want to book a holiday there as soon as possible and is a treat for anybody who loves all things Italian. The scenery as always is atmospheric and the use of it very clever, the locale as always is suitably colourful. The music is never over-bearing or low-key with a nice atmosphere and flavour, a lot of it is very cleverly used. The sound effects are remarkably authentic.
Oh, and something that was neglected to be mentioned by me in my reviews for the show and its individual episodes is how the food and the way it's used is enough to make one salivate over, it looks so delicious and almost too good to eat.
Part of 'The Young Montalbano's' appeal how it manages to stay true to what was so good about 'Inspector Montalbano' and is every bit as successful at creating a history that is both incredibly interesting and plausible. The humour is fun and remarkably true in spirit to 'Inspector Montalbano' if not as eccentric as that in the later episodes, the conflict is tense in a nail-biting way and the drama charms and affects. The romance is charming and Livia fares very nicely in her younger version. The characters as their younger selves, for what they lack in physical resemblance, more than make up for that in maintaining the same personalities we know and love the characters for and being just as interesting in development. Catarella when younger is just as hilarious, if more subtle. Even the supporting characters are given a lot of attention.
"Seven Mondays", on the most part despite one case being more interesting than the other, fares successfully in the story department. It's absorbing, intelligently written and brain-teasing, while keeping logic intact, not being too easy to solve (actually like 'Inspector Montalbano' it's pretty complicated) and not confusing or alienating the viewer. Pacing is leisurely but never dull, and a definite highlight is indeed the truly exciting denouement, one of 'The Young Montalbano's' best endings in my view.
The acting is very good, Michele Riondino had a Herculean task filling the shoes of the incomparable Luca Zingaretti but is more than up to the task and does it more than admirably, balancing comedy, drama and intensity with ease. All the other roles range from solid to great, with Fabrizio Pizzutto and Alessio Vassallo really coming into their own, but through the whole show it's Riondino's show all the way when it comes to the acting honours.
Overall, a great episode but a slight disappointment with the previous episodes being so brilliant. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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