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Child 44, 2015.
Directed by Daniel Espinosa.
A disgraced member of the military police investigates a series of nasty child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
Based on Tom Rob Smith’s 2008 novel; Child 44 proves how difficult it can be to effectively adapt such meaty material. Charting the life of Ukranian orphan Leo (Hardy) as he climbs the ranks within Soviet Russia, the story then briskly moves to him investigating a series of child murders. The film’s main idea that “there is no murder in paradise” is a compelling one and sets up the twists and turns of the story. However, the narrative is badly handled and the film plods along at a snail’s pace. There is some redemption in its final act but not enough to make up for the convoluted story that proceeds it. »
- Helen Murdoch
Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman have quite the cinematic partnership. Whether it’s Cold War dramas in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or venturing into the superhero mainstream for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the acting duo have tinkered and tailored in a variety of genres. For their latest outing, Hardy and Oldman will circle back to the Cold War for Daniel Espinosa’s adaptation, Child 44.
Lifted from the pages of Tom Rob Smith’s novel, the thriller centers on a search for sinister serial killer circa 1953. As we alluded to before, Tom Hardy will play the part of Leo Demidov, a well-respected agent who loses his badge and honor when he stands by his wife (Noomi Rapace) as she comes under question for being a traitor. With a cast list that also boasts Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke and Vincent Cassel, Child 44 is certainly one »
- Michael Briers
James Wan’s Furious 7 continued defending its position this weekend as the year’s first blockbuster as it earned $29.1 million, winning the box office for the third weekend in a row. The feature also widened its lead as the highest grossing film of 2015 to date, earning more than 2014’s fourth place finisher Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the process.
However, the film was joined by two newcomers in the top 10, as the comedy sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and the horror feature Unfriended finished in second and third place respectively. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the sequel to the 2009 Kevin James vehicle, took in $24 million, while Unfriended finished with $16 million to round out the top three. The two were joined in the top ten by fellow newcomer Monkey Kingdom, as the Disney documentary took in $4.7 million to finish in seventh place.
Last week’s second, third, and »
- Deepayan Sengupta
It’s hard to dislike Tom Hardy as an actor. Whatever cinematic challenge he takes on, from atypically brainy blockbusters like Inception and The Dark Knight Rises to taut dramas like Bronson and Locke, he always gives it his all, digging under his character’s skins with a diligence and canniness that elevates him above possibly any other actor of his generation. Along the way, he’s found particular success in embodying strong, silent types, the kinds of men who more resemble wild animals than well-mannered gentlemen. Hardy’s characters are like caged wolves – as much as you want to reach in and pet them, you might lose your hand if you do.
In Child 44, the actor is up to his usual tricks. As Leo Demidov, a dedicated security officer tasked with cracking down on traitors in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, Hardy plays another hardened man’s man, »
- Isaac Feldberg
At a time when the box office is dominated by popcorn pics, the failure of “Child 44″ is a perfect example of the challenges facing movies geared toward adult audiences.
The moody thriller about the search for a serial killer in Soviet Russia earned a paltry $600,000 domestically in its opening weekend and a meager $2.1 million internationally. That does not bode well for a film that cost nearly $50 million to produce.
A movie that offers up plenty of Russian accents, pre-Perestroika official corruption and a high preteen body count is a difficult sell in any circumstances, but in this case, nothing seemed to break “Child 44’s” way.
“When you’re spending $50 million on an adult drama, you have to be sure you have the right pieces in place to pull it off,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “In this day and age, if it’s not produced »
- Brent Lang and Dave McNary
Dear Lord, what happened here? Can one file criminal charges against a film that wastes this good a cast and premise? Child 44, directed by Daniel Espinosa and scripted by Richard Price, is based on Tom Rob Smith’s acclaimed novel, which itself was based on a series of shocking real-life murders in the Soviet Union committed between 1978 and 1990. This fictionalized variation transplants the crimes into the paranoid, industrial hellscape of Stalin’s Ussr, and it comes with loads of historical and sociopolitical context. So much ambition. So little competence. The investigation into “the Ripper of Rostov,” here called “the Wolf of Rostov,” has already inspired one terrific work of art, Chris Gerolmo's 1995 HBO film Citizen X, starring Steven Rea and Donald Sutherland — still one of the best TV movies I’ve ever seen. Engrossing and claustrophobic, Gerolmo's film portrayed the single-minded determination of a forensic investigator (Rea) as »
- Bilge Ebiri
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, April 17. [Synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.] Wide Child 44 Director: Daniél Espinosa Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel, Fares Fares Synopsis: "Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, a disgraced Mgb agent is dispatched to investigate a series of child murders -- a case that begins to connect with the very top of party leadership." Monkey Kingdom Director: Mark Linfield & Alastair Fothergill Synopsis: "A nature documentary that follows a newborn monkey and its mother as they struggle to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the Temple Troop, a dynamic group of monkeys who live in ancient ruins found deep in the storied jungles of South Asia." Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Director: Andy Fickman Cast: Kevin James, Molly Shannon, David Henrie, Raini Rodriguez, Eduardo »
- Steve Greene
★★☆☆☆ The prospect of a drama starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Noomi Rapace based on Tom Rob Smith's bestselling novel Child 44 suggested that it would be a great film. Sadly, in the hands of Daniel Espinosa, who was responsible for the "Martin Scorsese Presents" gangster flick Easy Money, that prospect dwindles into tedium, laced with out-dated, dodgy foreign accents and sloppy narrative structure. The story opens with a quote, stating "There is no murder in paradise," a mantra handed down by Stalin and the Kremlin insisting that they have created an idyllic state, far removed from the corruption of the capitalist West, where it's impossible to consider the idea of murder.
- CineVue UK
You’re unlikely to see a more star-studded film this weekend – unless you go in for your umpteenth viewing of Furious 7, and nobody would blame you – than Child 44. Tom Rob Smith’s bestelling novel of a few years ago hits the big screens thanks to future Assassin’s Creed director Daniel Espinosa, who tells a story of child murder in Stalin-era Soviet Russia with Tom Hardy, Vincent Cassel, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman as General Timur Nesterov.
After spending a good couple of decades as an “actor’s actor”, the sort of performer whose best work is done on the stage or in smaller films (whilst occasionally dipping into the mainstream to pay the bills), Oldman has comfortably settled into the Golden Middle Age of his career. His talent is universally recognised, he’s a household name, and he’s getting more work than ever.
Between Christopher Nolan »
- Tom Baker
Dirty Snow: Espinosa’s Ungainly Yet Enjoyable Soviet Era Mystery
Grazing lightly over the Soviet era politics of the period and featuring a handsome, gussied up cast that features a tad too many problematic instances of accented English, Swedish helmer Daniel Espinosa still manages to make an utterly watchable film out of Child 44, his second studio picture since breaking into Hollywood with 2012’s Safe House. A cadre of diverse actors from Sweden, Poland, France, Denmark, the UK, the Us, Switzerland, and more, portray period Soviets, some to better effect than others.
Based on Tom Rob Smith’s novel, the first in a trilogy, Espinosa and screenwriter Richard Price have clearly tried to retain the source material’s sprawling scope, though the film sometimes gets tripped up in its own skirt layers. Considering the richness of the material, it’s too bad that our seemingly unwavering preference for shorter running »
- Nicholas Bell
Coachella isn't just about music anymore ... it's all about the fashion! For our favorite celebs, the Indio, California festival is the perfect excuse for them to break out their favorite boho-chic ensembles. To get you in the mood for weekend two, we've recreated five of the most stylish stars' looks without the designer price tag. Kendall Jenner took Vanessa Hudgens' place as this year's Coachella "It Girl," showcasing her enviable bod in some pricey pieces. While the reality star's trendy threads totaled more than $3,000, we found a similar 2020Ave crop top and maxi skirt, which have the same look and feel as the model's outfit, but won't break the bank. Add some edge with Ami Clubwear cage wedges, a braided shoulder bag from 2020Ave and Satya Jewelry. Fun fact: We got creative and used a gorgeous Daniel Espinosa necklace as a headpiece! Alessandra Ambrosio brought her signature style to »
- tooFab Staff
Daniel Espinosa's "Child 44" opened Friday in Russia and has now been slammed by the country. Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky claimed that the film Russia look like "Mordor," and Russian citizens like "physical and moral subhumans, a bloody mass of orcs and ghouls." (Variety reports.) One major factor in the selection was the film's release date, which falls close to the 70th anniversary of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany, May 9. "This is how our country — the same one that was victorious in the Great War, became a world leader and put the first man in space — is being portrayed," Medinsky stated. “Movies like this shouldn’t be released in our country’s cinemas, earning money from filmgoers, not on the 70th anniversary of the victory or at any time,” he stated. To be fair, around this time of year (or any year) Russians would rather not remember Chikatilo, a. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
On paper, "Child 44" seems like it would not be just a great film, but perhaps end up being one of the very best films of the year. It stars the wonderful Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman, working from a script by Richard Price (adapting a best-selling novel by Tom Rob Smith) and under the direction of buzzed-about Swedish director Daniel Espinosa. The plot is enticing, too: it's a based-on-a-true-story murder mystery that takes place in Stalinist Russia, a nation state so perfect that, at least politically, murder simply cannot exist. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and for all the goodwill and promise "Child 44" engenders, it's ultimately a convoluted, muddy (both literally and figuratively) and overlong bore that takes an intriguing premise and does absolutely nothing with it. Read More: The Essentials: The 5 Best Gary Oldman Performances Part of what »
- Drew Taylor
The Russian accents in Daniel Espinosa's pitiless Soviet thriller adaptation Child 44 have already got more press than the film itself, which is both unfortunate and illustrative of a familiar problem with putting English dialogue in foreign characters' mouths. Adapted from the first novel in a trilogy by British writer Tom Rob Smith, the film is a pensive and bracingly brutal mystery which takes too long to become emotionally engaging.
Tom Hardy is characteristically compelling as Leo Demidov, a runaway orphan-turned-WW2 soldier transformed into a war hero by his role in the Battle of Berlin. Years after the war, Leo and his comrade-in-arms Alexei (Fares Fares) have taken jobs with the secret police in Moscow, under the command of Vincent Cassell's slippery Major Kuzmin.
"There is no murder in paradise, »
How does a state where 'there is no crime' handle an act like murder when it occurs not once but dozens of times? The answer is that the state – in this case, post-World War II Stalinist Russia – creates an 'official' story and buries the truth as capitalist propaganda.
That’s what happens in Child 44, the new political thriller based on the first in a trilogy of novels by Tom Rob Smith. Tom Hardy stars as Mgb agent Leo Demidov, who is busy at his job of routing out political dissidents when two major challenges come into his life: he is asked to denounce his own wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace), as a traitor, and also stumbles upon a series of grisly child killings that seem to stretch across 20 years »
Having never read the novel by Tom Rob Smith, I can't really comment on "Child 44" as an adaptation. Often, even I feel like a movie doesn't work, as long as it resembles the book, fans seem placated, and that might be the case here. Coming to it cold, though, my reaction is one of bewilderment. I have no idea what movie they thought they were making or why people flipped out for the book, because there's nothing in this film that would suggest a compelling story compellingly told. Tom Hardy stars as Leo Demidov, who was orphaned and left in a miserable hellhole, eventually escaping and enlisting in the Russian army as a teen. When WWII came, he fought, and he eventually ended up in Berlin, where he become a propaganda icon thanks to his part in a pivotal battle and his posing for a famous photo. As the film gets going, »
- Drew McWeeny
A Soviet-era slog through crime and corruption, painted in the grim, dim shades of muck, blood, moss and bark, director Daniel Espinosa’s “Child 44” turns a best-selling period-piece procedural into a slow, tedious thriller almost totally devoid of thrills. While the cast is full of exemplary performers — Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman and more — the fault here is not in the stars, but in the material. On the page, Tom Rob Smith’s novel won awards and hit best-seller lists worldwide by reflecting the paranoia and policies of Stalin’s Russia through the lens of a homicide. »
- James Rocchi
Part serial-killer thriller, part old-school anti-Soviet propaganda, “Child 44” plays like a curious relic of an earlier Cold War mindset, when Western audiences took comfort that they were living on the right side of the Iron Curtain, and relied on movies to remind them as much. Here, the central character is an obedient Mgb agent played by Tom Hardy, who, like the rest of the pic’s starry Euro ensemble, delivers his lines in a thick Russian accent — a distraction that feels as outdated as “Easy Money” director Daniel Espinosa’s choice to shoot on celluloid, plunging the story’s already grim Stalin-era living conditions even deeper into shadow. Nostalgia combined with a certain amount of pageantry should be enough to draw those who miss Red-scare spy stories to this expansive Ridley Scott production (which he originally intended to direct), though not enough to encourage either sequels or imitators.
In recent years, »
- Peter Debruge
This weekend, an all-star cast — Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, and Vincent Cassel — arrives in theaters delivering something a little different than your usual summer fare. It's the Stalin-era mystery thriller "Child 44," and we've got some cool stuff to get you excited for the film. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, and based on the best-selling novel of the same name, the film chronicles the crisis of conscience for secret police agent Leo Demidov, who loses status, power, and home when he refuses to denounce his own wife, Raisa, as a traitor. Exiled from Moscow to a grim provincial outpost, Leo and Raisa join forces with General Mikhail Nesterov to track down a serial killer who preys on young boys. Their quest for justice threatens a system-wide cover-up enforced by Leo’s psychopathic rival, Vasil, who insists “There is no crime in Paradise.” Read »
- The Playlist Staff
Fancy winning a pair of tickets to the London Premiere of Child 44, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman, next Thursday 16th April evening? You’re in the right place as we’ve got a pair to giveaway!
Directed by Daniel Espinosa, the film follows a disgraced member of the military police who investigates a series of nasty child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
Check out the trailer:
To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, just Rt the following tweet below Only and we’ll pick that lucky winner on Monday 13th April – Good luck!
Rt this Tweet Only for a chance of tix to the #Child44Premiere in London on 16/4! UK only. Comp closes 13/4. T’s&C’s: http://t.co/P3a2O1xWNf
— The Hollywood News (@thncom) April 11, 2015
Terms & Conditions
UK entrants only You must be 15 or over Winners »
- Dan Bullock
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