Hinterland DVDDirectors: Gareth Bryn, Marc Evans, Rhy Powys, Ed Thomas

Starring: Richard Harrington, Mali Harries, Hannah Daniel, Alex Harries, Aneirin Hughes

 Running Time: 380 minutes

Certificate: 15

Hinterland attempts to recreate the feel and atmosphere of the Nordic noir shows that have become all the rage. We’ve seen remakes, TV showings and DVD releases. Not only that, but the crime drama is spreading like wildfire with British shows Sherlock and Broadchurch obvious favourites. However, like Scotland voting on their independence, Wales also want some of the pie for themselves, which leads us to Hinterland, a police procedural thriller set in Aberystwyth, and following the crimes investigated by troubled detective Tom Mathias (Harrington) and his team.

The setting of the show is absolutely phenomenal. Every single landscape is captured beautifully with stunning shots and impressive lighting. Aberystwyth looks like somewhere where you’d be forever miserable while still appreciating the beauty. You’d never have believed that murky grey clouds could look so alive. The music also uses subtle melodic tones to perfectly convey the mood throughout. These two elements suggest a professional approach to the genre, and make it a worthy contender against any of the Nordic dramas…that would be were it not for the writing .

There’s no easy way to say it, but Hinterland is hilarious. Many of the best lines in spoof classic AIRPLANE came word for word from a film that took itself seriously and Hinterland may be subjected to the same fate in the near future. Harrington’s single expression becomes a bore, until his seriousness gives us some of the most unintentionally hilarious dialogue put on screen. He’s rough and abrasive to the extent of comedy, as well as spelling out clues and crimes resulting in uncontrollable bursts of laughter from the audience. After a character merely says he likes caravans, Mathias jumps in with a very stern and aggressive “Why? Planning on going somewhere?” Perhaps such responses would be understandable if we got to know this character, but his backstroy is only hinted at in clichéd excerpts where people only hint at what has transpired in the past, again coming off as rather funny.

The acting isn’t all that bad though, which just makes this all the more ripe for parody. An entire conversation flows by with nothing but questions in something which could easily equate to a fun drinking game. Each episode is also needlessly long, with rather simple crimes dragged out for a feature length 95 minutes. The length would be fine if we could relate to our characters or separate them from simple caricatures, but there’s rough cop, pretty blonde cop, geeky young male cop, and so on. I can’t describe any of them past a few words. The murders don’t resonate on any level, and despite 90 minutes of red herrings and poor police work, it’s the person you first thought it was. Enjoyable for all the wrong reasons, but at least it looks and sounds good.

[usr=2]Hinterland is released on DVD on 26th May.