Featured Post

Letterboxd Reviews

So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Movie Review - Child 44

Child 44 (2015)
Starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Fares Fares, Jason Clarke, and Vincent Cassel
Directed by Daniel Espinosa

"In 1933, at the height of Stalin's state-imposed famine against the Ukranian people, an estimated 25,000 died each day from starvation.  The systematic extermination by hunger known as the Holodomor left millions of children orphaned."  One of those children mentioned in Child 44's opening subtitles is Leo Demidov who as an adult (played by Tom Hardy) has become a Russian Ministry of State Security agent.  When a series of child murders is uncovered including the killing of his partner's son, Leo sets off on a mission to find the murderer...however, this doesn't sit well with his commanders because Russia at the time failed to acknowledge murder as they felt that was a crime brought about by capitalism.  Soon, Leo finds his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) accused of being a traitor to the state and the only way Leo can save her is by moving far away and taking a job in a lowly militia.  Desperate to find the serial killer ending the lives of innocent children and also hoping to seek revenge on fellow agent Vasili Niktin (Joel Kinnaman) whom Leo believes set up his wife, the vengeful Leo finds himself battling a Russian mindset that is unwilling to face the truth.

Ultimately, the problem with Child 44 is that it tries too hard to be too many things.  In addition to the variety of story lines above -- murdered children, traitors, the Holodomor -- there are numerous other tales woven into the mix.  While the serial killer certainly takes precedence, it too often feels pushed to the side while a variety of other depressing aspects make appearances with very little emotional impact.  Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are fine, but there's certainly no aire of charisma between the two.  Quite frankly, I didn't even realized they were actually married until about halfway through.  Gary Oldman (as an officer who befriends Leo) has a tendency to overdo it in certain films, but here, his screen presence is a welcome breath of fresh air in the film's second act.  Granted, it's not enough to save the film from being a rather tiresome slog to sit through.  While there are aspects of the story that could very well stand on their own, the kitchen sink method of Child 44 just doesn't work in its favor.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

No comments:

Post a Comment