#23: CHILD 44 (18/4/15)
Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent Cassel, Fares Fares, Paddy Constine and Jason Clarke. Screenplay by Richard Price. Directed by Daniel Espinosa. 137 minutes long.
Good news! You don't have to have seen Child 1 thru to 43 to understand what's going on in this one.
But bad news, unlike Fast and Furious 7, which shows that some film franchises just keep getting better and better the longer they go on, this one appears to have blown a few too many cylinders!
Welcome to the Soviet Union circa the early 1950s, a world of secret policemen, grim brutality, and utterly no murder under the rule of good ole Uncle Joe Starlin. Tom Hardy plays Leo Dimadov, a war hero and lead agent of the Ministry of State Security who becomes disgraced and exiled when his investigation into the death of a child reveals the unthinkable, that a serial killer is at work in a world which believes that murder is a capitalist disease and therefore impossible. To make matters worse, Dimadov's wife is accused of being a traitor and he and his wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace) are exiled to a desolate industrial hellhole in the middle of nowhere. And just because bad news always travels in threes, it turns out that the serial killer just so happens to be beavering away there too! Crikey, talk about bad luck. From then on, Hardy finds a reluctant ally in police chief, Gary Oldman and together they start to track down the killer before he can kill again or before the authorities catch them trying to catch the killer and kill them to silence them.
By no means a barrel of laughs, this is a bleak and gloomy thriller with a eye on attention to detail rather than action. With an impressive cast, some great acting from Hardy and much bleakness. Indeed there's no escape from the bleakness or the oppression on display and the film seems to focus so much on the subtleties and subplots of the film that it looses sight of the main plot, the hunt for a child killer and that's this film's main failing. It has no real backbone, no central sense of drama, just the drudgery of the mundane. But in detailing that aspect of life the film is quite intriguing, it's just not a very exciting film, which is a major het het in a crime thriller featuring the search for a serial killer.
Still an intriguing idea and set in a very unique world, would have worked great as a TV show set across 26 weeks but not so as a 2 hr movie.