Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2015 Contents A41
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Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Child
44 stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace,
Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Jason
Clarke, Paddy Considine and Vincent
Cassel and opens locally this week.
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 redemp-
tion in its final act but not enough to
make up for the convoluted story that
Whilst Child 44 s trailers have billed
it as a hunt for a serial killer it is much
more than that---and in a way that is
to the detriment of the film. In 137
minutes, we re given a wealth of story
line and ideas but none feel as fully
formed as they should---characters are
introduced but never developed and
there are plot lines thrown in that don t
amount to anything.
The representation of the day-to-
day living in Soviet Russia is compelling
to watch, as is Leo s investigation into
the murders. However, the two stories
continually interrupt the tension within
the film; making the reveal of the killer
seemingly an afterthought.
Solid performances by the cast help
the film. Hardy dons a thick Russian
accent to play Leo. Whilst his accent
is distracting and at times laughable,
his body language in certain scenes
reveals more than you could imagine.
After two young girls are orphaned,
Leo sits down and seemingly lets the
emotion wash over him.
It s an effective piece of acting by
Hardy and reinforces how important
his physical presence can be. Noomi
Rapace delivers a solid performance as
Leo s downtrodden wife, combining
fear and strength in equal measures.
However, her character is underwritten
and her motivations continually change
as the film progresses.
The standout performance through-
out the film is Joel Kinnaman s slimy
agent Vassili. Cowardly and manipu-
lative, he steals each scene he s in and
makes what could have been a one
dimensional character into someone
much more intriguing and unnerving.
Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Gary
Oldman and Vincent Cassel all provide
good support, but ultimately they re considerable
talents are wasted.
Considine in particular is riveting to watch and
I left the cinema wishing that he d had more screen
time. Gary Oldman seems to once again being doing
his trick of speaking quietly and then shouting.
It feels as if he s been brought on board purely for
his name as his character is hugely under developed
and amounts to nothing more than a cameo.
Daniel Espinosa is growing as a director, but with
Child 44 he s fallen into the trap of trying to do too
much. Storylines are introduced but not followed
up and the constant shift makes it difficult to find
the film even remotely tense.
The recreation of Soviet Russia is handled well
and visually the film delivers in each scene. Cuts
between the sound of a squealing train and children s
screaming is effective. It s just a shame that as a
whole the film falls completely flat.
Child 44 is a difficult novel to tackle and whilst
there are elements of brilliance in Richard Price s
screenplay, the pacing is sloppy and ultimately unin-
teresting. (Helen Murdoch)
Child 44 begins
Gary Oldman, left, and Tom Hardy in Child 44.
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