Child 44

2015 "How do you find a killer who doesn’t exist?"
6.5| 2h17m| R| en
Details

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.

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Reviews

Nessieldwi Very interesting film. Was caught on the premise when seeing the trailer but unsure as to what the outcome would be for the showing. As it turns out, it was a very good film.
Numerootno A story that's too fascinating to pass by...
Ariella Broughton It is neither dumb nor smart enough to be fun, and spends way too much time with its boring human characters.
Bob This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time. You have to go and see this on the big screen.
blrnani Ostensibly a crime thriller, this film is really a portrayal of what life is like in a totalitarian state, with the 'great leader' telling everyone they live in paradise and forcing them all to agree if they don't want to be persecuted. The result is generalised fear and a perfect breeding ground for cowardly monsters. Fortunately, there are always some with the character and courage to resist. The acting is perfect, making the film feel very real (if one can ignore the fact that all the Russians are speaking heavily accented English - but to be fair, what sort of a cinema audience would one attract with a film in Russian with English subtitles; it is a business looking for a market, after all).
FountainPen 3 out of 10 is the best I can do for this unfortunate film. As with many movies over the past 20 years, almost all scenes appear to have been shot with the camera's lens closed down a number of stops, thereby producing a dark, dark scene & atmosphere, hardly ever actually called for by activity. Granted, the subject matter is dark and nasty, but that is no excuse for continual scenes in which we can barely make out faces even. Bad, bad, bad !Further, much of the audio is difficult to follow, owing in part to mumbled lines, contorted accents, plus interfering background effects & music. I had expected a powerful film with excellent cinematography, but instead was presented with this lemon. Unfortunate. Not recommended.
Humphreywashere Beautifully and efficiently told story of a couple living in post war socialist Ukraine, trying to live normal lives when all lives are controlled by 'the state'. Daily life constrained by fear, lies, and the absolute power of authorities at various levels of seniority. Mixed into this is a back story of a serial child killer. What hope for justice in this environment where justice is whatever 'the authorities' want it to be? The real monsters are everywhere, have free reign and are unpunished whilst the innocents suffer repression. This fine film might chill the heart of anyone purporting to romanticise life under socialism.This tale is also a chilling glimpse of a dystopian future. Beautifully acted, this is not a slow plodding European arty movie. It is fast, efficiently told, and has avoided being sensationalist. The script is precise and the main character has the gravitas, integrity and virtue that a viewer can admire in a hero. I thought this movie was a thousand times better than the ridiculous Dunkirk supposedly depicting war and madness. And what can I say about the much undeservedly feted movie 'Mother' that attempts to depict a similar theme as this film with nonsensical storyline and gratuitous violence? I don't know why Child 44 is not admired more. It is a very fine film, and deserves accolades.
The D'Ascoyne Family What a bizarrely dull waste. The successful Child 44 book had three or four things going for it: a stunningly atmospheric opening in a winter of starvation (here rushed over and its relevance weakened), a big reveal (cut), the evolving relationship between Demidov and his wife as they first realize the emptiness of what they thought they had and then build anew (next to Noomi Rapace's pained wisdom Tom Hardy's Leo is a nice picture of inarticulate bewildered loyalty, war hero as premiership footballer out of his depth, but it doesn't go anywhere) and a reasonable cat-and-mouse/chase plot. Trying to squeeze in most of the narrative of the book, but still dropping a couple of significant facts and incidents, the film manages somehow to be both too long and too rushed. The Demidovs hurry back and forth across Russia having unpleasant train incidents, the commuter experience from hell, and then the mystery gets addressed in a couple of brisk and largely unrelated bits of business at the end. Espinosa worthily films most of the book, but loses its sense and its drama. Child 44 has some vivid styling and performances (largely for decoration – Cassel is intimidating because he's Cassel, nothing more; Oldman has to resort to maximum shouting-and-spitting to get any drama into his scenes; Dance, as so often, is paraded as a token of film gravity), but it's otherwise as empty and lifeless as its Siberian wilderness.The Script Hack (https://thescripthack.wordpress.com/): if we're skipping the plot relevance of the starvation opening, we can skip the whole scene; if we're dropping the key bits of information gained from the mid-story return to Moscow, we can drop that whole sequence; and we could trim some of the secondary scenes (the last, for example, nicely true to the book, could be 30 seconds instead of five minutes). That would create much more time and space to pace and build the mystery and anticipation and drama of the hunt, and the relationships at its heart, and still leave a tighter more powerful film.