Plot – A disgraced member of the Russian military police investigates a series of child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union – Child 44.
Director – Daniel Espinosa
Released – 2015
The combination of a crime thriller about a serial killer of children set in the Soviet Union during the Stalin era sounds like an interesting idea for a film and when you include actors of the quality of Hardy and Oldman, you must surely be onto a winner? Sadly, however, Child 44 proves that an interesting idea and a good cast don’t always translate to success.
Now, this isn’t to say, there aren’t elements of this film that were done well: showing the difficulty of conducting a wide-ranging and politically embarrassing murder investigation in a brutal military state, and the courage shown to go against this powerful and dangerous system, is very engrossing. Partly because of the excellent acting from Hardy, but also the wonderful cinematography, fully capturing the bleak and joyless atmosphere of life in Soviet Russia.
Taking a long time to get going and unable to keep the story clear, where the Child 44 falls down is the script, especially during the final third of the movie, when it becomes difficult to keep up with all the elements and subplots that are being thrown at you in quick succession. Also falling flat is the film’s attempt at spicing up the story with the use of action sequences, which were not handled well and felt more than a little out of place. ★★★☆☆