Child 44 (2015)
Critic Consensus: There's a gripping story at the heart of Child 44 and a solid performance from Tom Hardy in the lead, but it all still adds up to a would-be thriller that lacks sufficient thrills.
|Rating:||R (for violence, some disturbing images, language and a scene of sexuality)|
|Genre:||Mystery & Suspense, Drama|
|Directed By:||Daniel Espinosa|
|Written By:||Tom Rob Smith, Richard Price|
|In Theaters:||Apr 17, 2015 Wide|
|On DVD:||Aug 4, 2015|
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as Leo Demidov
as Raisa Demidov
as General Mikhail Nest...
as Major Kuzmin
as Anatoly Tarasovich B...
as Vladimir Malevich
as Semyon Okun
as Major Grachev
as Inessa Nesterov
as Ivan Sukov
as Doctor Tyapkin
as Alexei Andreyev
as Nina Andreyeva
as Young Leo Demidov
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Critic Reviews for Child 44
The movie hints at a riveting story but is incapable of delivering it.
Given these actors and the ravishing decrepitude of the locations and costumes and the lustrous cinematography of Oliver Wood, I found it more than watchable the whole way through.
Once in a while comes that star-studded film to remind that even the best assemblage of thespians isn't enough to save the most underwhelming of films.
Get past some contrived plotting - and the needlessly thick Russian accents adopted by the mostly British cast - and this 1950s-set crime thriller is grimly fascinating.
It's all so mushy and unclear that by the time a climactic fight takes place in a literal mire you'll feel as muddied as the participants.
Audience Reviews for Child 44
It's not often that a movie is constructed in such an incoherent fashion that even the title merely hearkens back to an after-thought from the film, but "Child 44" is one such uncommonly haphazard film. The fact that Child #44 is indistinguishable in the film proves the utter lack of focus in the horrendously uneven, improbable and at times preposterous script. Of course, one might not feel sure that Child #44 isn't a central figure since the dialog is nearly impossible to hear through the actors' constantly mumbled Russian accents.
Although the acting is good and there are some admirable points to the directing, "Child 44" does not come close to the coherence of virtually the same story filmed in 1995 as "Citizen X" with Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland. At least in that older film, there was some sense of scale and suspense -- in "Child 44", one hardly realizes it matters that there is a serial killer on the loose. Especially since everyone else is worse than the serial killer.
In sum, this film is boring and stupid. One cannot use an all-knowing, omnipotent, Russian security service as a constant plot device (who in the 1950s apparently have Star Trek teleporters to move characters from one end of the Soviet Union to the other within moments!), only to play off its utter cluelessness when it comes to matters of crime and security. The script and editing are just too silly to get my recommendation.
It wouldn't be hard to forgive this messy thriller for its expository dialogue and for being too long and confusing about its purpose, but it is impossible to overlook the way it insults our intelligence with a ridiculous, one-dimensional villain and laughable plot absurdities.
Unfairly cast out like some unwanted vermin, Child 44 is a police procedural based on a best-selling novel that the studio simply wanted to get rid of quietly. It was "dumped" into theaters and, as expected, began its disappearing act. That's a shame, because it's actually a rather involving mystery and an especially fascinating perspective into a little known world of being a cop on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Tom Hardy plays Leo, a member of the Soviet state police who is tracking a serial murderer preying upon orphaned children across the countryside in 1953. His wife (Noomi Rapace) is terrified of him and secretly a rebel informer. The two of them get banished to a Soviet outpost when Leo refuses to turn her in; he also refuses to accept the state's conclusion over the dead children. In a weirdly perplexing turn, the Soviet Union believed murder was a Western byproduct. "There is no murder in paradise," we are told several times, and since the U.S.S.R. is a communist worker's "paradise," whatever reality that doesn't jibe with the party line is swept away. The murder mystery itself is fairly well developed and suspenseful, but it's really the glimpse into this bleak and paranoid world that I found so intriguing. Child 44 is a slowly paced film thick with the details of establishing the dour existence of Soviet Union life. You truly get a sense of how wearying and beaten down these people's lives were, how trapped they felt, how justifiable their paranoia was. The husband and wife relationship grows as they're forced to reevaluate their sense of one another, and it genuinely becomes a meaty dramatic addition. Child 44 is a slow movie but the pacing serves the deliberate and oppressive tone of the film. It's a film with some problems and missteps (certain antagonists make little sense in their motivations), including some incoherent action/fight scenes (fighting in the mud? Way to visually obscure everybody, guys). However, this is a better movie than the studio, and a majority of critics, would have you believe. It's engrossing and taut and ambiguous and consistently interesting, with another standout performance by Hardy. Like many of the characters, this movie deserved a better fate.
Nate's Grade: B
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