Tom Hardy is a high ranking officer in the Russian army who begins to investigate a series of gruesome child murders that have been occurring whilst being swept beneath the proverbial rub by the Russian government. However when they find out he is snooping around he is demoted and exiled, but this doesn’t stop him. With the help of Noomi Rapace he sets about tracking this fiend down.
Everything about this movies suggest it’s should be brilliant. The cast is astounding calling upon names like Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent Cassel, Charles Dance, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke and more. It sounds thrilling: a murder mystery set in Stalin-era Russia with political undertones and action set pieces. However, it is not brilliant. It’s not actually very good at all.
The makers of this film, I think, had a real problem with the pacing of this film. It takes awfully long to start up (it’s really an hour in to the movie before the plot actually kicks in), and even then it doesn’t go anywhere fast. This would be alright if you enjoyed the company of the characters, but I found I felt quite disconnected from them. So the film combines detachment from key characters and slow pacing, meaning that when it gets to an hour in and stuff starts to happen you don’t really care anyway.
There are a couple of reasons for my detachment. One of them is quite a petty one, it’s the Russian accents. I just don’t quite understand why I must watch a film in which a load of English speaking actors speak English but in Russian accents. Either go full blown and do your film in Russian, or concede that it’s not in Russian and just have it in normal English. Child 44 employs some kind of irritating half way house that doesn’t really work. Also none of them are all that likeable.
It’s not all bad though, Joel Kinnaman is genuinely brilliant. Tom Hardy is solid as always and well Gary Oldman is Gary flippin Oldman. Although I did feel most of the cast were underused in the film. Charles Dance has one scene, Paddy Considine doesn’t have nearly enough screen time. And these in general where not criticisms I thought I’d be having of a two hour plus movie. But those actors that are used do very well.
Overall, I found Child 44 to be a massive disappointment. I don’t think it delivered on anything it promised other than just having great actors there. This would probably be better as a name the a-list Hollywood actor game rather than an actual film.