Child 44

Child 44

Daniel Espinosa (2014)

131min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This adaptation of Tom Rob Smith's bestseller shakes up the serial killer flick, transposing the customary grisly crimes to the Stalin-era Soviet Union. It follows tarnished MGB agent Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) and his clandestine pursuit of a child killer, accompanied by his plucky wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace). Swedish director Daniel Espinosa's moody, interrogative approach suits the subject and Hardy is believably tortured as an apparently monstrous man who we come to admire. The film explores the difficulty of investigating crime in a society where even the murders of innocents aren't recognised as such, yet this complexity proves hard to tackle. Even at 137-minutes, the story feels abbreviated and a distinguished cast (including Gary Oldman and Vincent Cassel) are restricted in small roles and struggle with Russian accents. Efforts to balance the political context, murder hunt and romance are muddled but Child 44 grows in stature and suspense as it gains focus, eventually revealing itself as a murky depiction of desperately unjust, fearful times.

Summary

A secret police agent in 1950s Russia is disgraced for refusing to denounce his own wife as a traitor. Reassigned to a remote outpost, he tries to bring a serial child murderer to justice, but faces an official cover-up by a rival, who wants to maintain the illusion that Soviet society is without crime. Detective thriller based on Tom Rob Smith's novel, starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace.

Cast & Crew

Leo Demidov Tom Hardy
Gen Mikhail Nesterov Gary Oldman
Raisa Demidov Noomi Rapace
Vasili Joel Kinnaman
Vladimir Malevich Paddy Considine
Maj Kuzmin Vincent Cassel
Anatoly Tarasovich Brodsky Jason Clarke
Inessa Nesterov Tara Fitzgerald
Director Daniel Espinosa
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Entertainment OneGuidance: Violence, swearing, sex scenesAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 17 Apr 2015
Drama