Title – Child 44 (2015)
Director – Daniel Espinosa (Safe House)
Cast – Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel
Plot – Proud Russian war hero Leo Demidov (Hardy) finds himself and wife Raisa (Rapace) disgraced in the Stalin era and sent to work for General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman) who along with Leo discovers a string of gruesome child murders that they must stop at all costs.
“There is no murder in paradise”
Review by Eddie on 29/09/2015
So many things on paper point to Child 44 being quite the film. The book on which this film is based on by Tom Rob Smith is a hugely popular and well liked novel, we’ve got a cast here which led by the ever impressive Tom Hardy looks like a sure fire winner, director Daniel Espinosa has shown promise before with his early films Easy Money and Safe House and the material at the heart of this tale could be both thrilling and emotionally resonate. Upon pondering these elements, it makes it even more frustrating that Child 44 is such a downright mediocre film.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying openly that Child 44 was one of the films I was most looking forward to catching on cinema screens this year. The reuniting of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier ,Spy and Lawless co-stars Hardy and Gary Oldman, mixed with the white knuckle thrills of a serial killer whodunit in the colds of post war Russia, it seemed like a quality movie event but that fact that Child 44 never even screened on Australian cinema screens says all we need to know about how viewers felt about Espinosa’s hodgepodge production.
A large portion of Child 44’s failings must be placed at the feet of Espinosa who seems unsure of how to utilise his cast, while Hardy is commanding despite a somewhat overplayed Russian accent, the rest of the films main players seem utterly wasted with particular mention of a barely registering Gary Oldman and the complete waste of supports like Paddy Considine and the blink and you’ll miss it Jason Clarke. Espinosa clearly had trouble also with a narrative focus that shifts too often between the toils of Hardy’s Leo and his troubled wife Raisa (played by Noomi Rapace who once more frustrates in an English language production) and the almost side playing’s of brutal child murders that are engulfing the nations impoverished.
It’d be easy to go on at length about how Child 44 fails to capitalise on juicy plot lines and interesting characters traits and arcs, but put simply, Child 44 seems reluctant to back itself in as either a drama, a thriller or a mystery and while there are glimpses of the films possibilities, a messy delivery disallows audience interest beyond mild curiosity.
Easily one of 2015’s most disappointingly average movies, Child 44 had all the makings of something special but never becomes anything more than a slightly more polished TV movie that is elevated by the on screen presence of Hardy and a few stand-alone scenes that seem cut from a much better overall product.
2 homemade candy treats out of 5