Blu-Ray Review: Rufus Sewell Stars in Stylish, Smart ‘Zen’

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CHICAGO – Stylish, sexy, and smart, “Zen” is a treat for international mystery lovers, seen recently on PBS stateside and now available on DVD and a stunningly-transferred two-disc Blu-ray. Starring Rufus Sewell and Caterina Murino, the release includes three feature-length mysteries — “Vendetta,” “Cabal,” and “Ratking” — all based on Michael Dibdin novels. While the BBC canceled the show (despite strong ratings) due to a reported glut of male crimefighters in the country’s TV (if only more American producers felt that way), “Zen” stands out from the crowd. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Detective Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell of “Dark City”) is a smooth character, the kind of upstanding mystery man who gets the criminal, the girl, and a new suit all in a day’s work. To be fair, Sewell adds a nice layer of realism and anxiety to the character, not giving in to the beautiful people in a beautiful setting aesthetic that could have made “Zen” too stylish. He adds three-dimensional weight to the role, making him an interesting, fallible character who doesn’t always know the right thing to do. At the same time, he brings a wonderful intellectualism to the part. He may be a smooth talker but Sewell also conveys the idea that this is a man who’s always thinking, always analyzing, without making him feel too smart for the room. It’s a great performance and it carries the program. Hopefully, as rumored, someone else will pick up future installments of “Zen.” We may have a lot of crimefighters but this one’s worth keeping around.

Photo credit: BBC/Warner Bros.

“Rufus Sewell (Eleventh Hour, The Pillars Of The Earth) stars as the classic Italian detective Aurelio Zen in three feature length dramas based on the best-selling books by Michael Dibdin.

Vendetta, Cabal and Ratking follow the charismatic Zen around Rome as he investigates murder and kidnapping, while negotiating the constantly shifting political terrain of his job, his country and, of course, his romantic life.”

Special Features:
o Zen — An Italian Adventure

“Zen” stars Rufus Sewell, Caterine Murino, Francesco Quinn, Catherine Spaak, Sarah-Jane Potts, Valentine Cervi, Ben Miles, Stanley Townsend, and Peter Guiness. It was released by BBC/Warner Bros. on Blu-ray and DVD on August 2nd, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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