Based on the first of a trilogy by Tom Rob Smith and set in the Stalin era of the Soviet Union. The plot is about an idealistic pro-Stalin security officer who decides to investigate a series of child murders in a country where supposedly this sort of crime doesn't exist. The state would not hear of the existence of a child murderer let alone a serial killer. He gets demoted and exiled but decides, with just the help of his wife, to continue pursuing the case.Written by
Mother of the killed boy says he was Leo's godson. This implies a religious affiliation, which in Stalinist times would have been an impossible thing to a high ranking officer of the Soviet army/militia. See more »
A crime thriller, set in the Soviet Union during the Stalin era: it sounds like a good idea. And it probably is, but unfortunately 'Child 44' doesn't have what it takes to be a really good film. Some things are well done: the oppressing atmosphere of living in a police state, and the courage it takes to go against of the powers that be, are very convincing. That's partly because of the excellent cinematography, full of grey colours conveying the joyless society that Soviet Russia must have been; and partly because of Tom Hardy's convincing lead.
Hardy shows exactly the right amount of tenacity to make him believable as the Russian war hero who becomes an outcast because he refuses to denounce his innocent wife, against the will of the regime. Only after he exposes the incompetence of the police force in a series of child killings, he gets rehabilitated.
The weak point of the film is the script. It takes a long while before all elements of the story are clear, and the quick succession of events at the start is a bit confusing. Moreover, the story is spiced up with some action scenes that are not well executed and unnecessary. Also, the tear jerking scene at the end is at odds with the hard-boiled story.
What really annoyed me (and I think I'm not alone) is the language. The actors speak English with a mock Russian accent. This half-hearted way of solving a language problem makes some dialogue almost ridiculous. Just let them speak normal English. I know, that makes the film a bit less authentic. But nobody spoke English with mock Russian accents in Soviet Russia.
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