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FILM REVIEW: CHILD 44 (15)

What do you get when you combine a star-studded cast with a plodding storyline? Child 44.

When a movie that contains the likes of Brit stars Tom Hardy (soon to be seen in Mad Max: Fury Road), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum) – along with Jason Clarke (John Connor in forthcoming Terminator: Genisys), Joel Kinnaman (Robocop) and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) – comes together, you’d think you’ve got all the ingredients for a thriller that should really work.

But sadly this bleak serial killer drama, set in a 1953 Stalin-era Soviet Union, turns its intriguing premise – based on Tom Rob Smith’s hit novel – into a remarkably uninspiring affair that never ignites at any point, despite the production input of Ridley Scott.

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This politically-charged effort is really a film of two halves; as it firstly chronicles the crisis of conscience for idealistic secret police agent Leo Demidov (Hardy), who loses power, status and his home, when he refuses to denounce his wife Raisa (Rapace) – who is suspected as a spy – as a traitor.

With the couple exiled from Moscow to a grim provincial outpost, it then expands on a sub-plot about a serial killer (Considine) who preys on young boys and leaves them dead near rail tracks – covered up as train accidents – which leads to them combining forces with Oldman’s General Nesterov to try and solve the case.

CHILD-44-LANDSCAPE-POSTERBut soon Moscow gets wind of this, and Demidov’s unhinged rival Vasili (Kinnaman) is brought in to make sure the case ‘goes away’ – as the state doesn’t acknowledge crimes like this existing in a country they call ‘paradise’.

Sadly the dull and murky palette (though impressively realistic at points) of the movie is anything but paradise, and despite the best efforts of Hardy – who just about produces the best Russian accent in a bad bunch – this highly-anticipated thriller ends up being as dull as ditch water.

Even when we finally reach the pay-off, there’s no real resolution to why the killer has carried out these appalling acts – and all we get is a tepid finale that really sums up the whole disappointing experience.

Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date showtimes for movies at Peterborough Showcase. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

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Cast: Tom Hardy, Joel Kinnaman, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Paddy Considine, Vincent Cassel, Sam Spruell, Fares Fares, Tara Fitzgerald, Charles Dance & Jason Clarke

Running Time: 2 Hr 17 Mins

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Gavin Miller

Legend

Written by ESP Magazine

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