A meaty, fascinating story is splintered into three plot strands that battle for the viewer's attention, so while the film is never boring, it's also oddly uninvolving. Fortunately, it has an excellent cast and is shot with skill and a relentless intensity to feel like a big, epic-style dramatic thriller with heavy political overtones.
After a scene-setting prologue, the story starts in 1953 Moscow, where Leo (Tom Hardy) is a war hero now working in the military police, purging the city of its spies. Or at least its suspected spies. In the Soviet socialist utopia, crime officially doesn't exist, but Leo finds it difficult to tell his best pal Alexei (Fares Fares) that his 8-year-old son was killed in a train accident when he was so clearly tortured and murdered. Ordered by his boss (Vincent Cassel) to let it go, and menaced by his rival colleague Vasili (Joel Kinnaman), Leo continues investigating, resulting in a reprimand that sees Leo and his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) relocated to the the grim industrial city of Volsk. But when another young boy's body appears here, Leo gets his new boss (Gary Oldman) to see the connection.
There are at least three main plots in this film, and the filmmakers oddly never allow one to become the central strand. There's the mystery involving this brutal, unhinged serial killer (Paddy Considine) stalking boys along the railway. There's the thriller about Leo being brutally taunted by Vasili, who has a thing for Raisa and is trying to crush them for good. But the only emotionally engaging strand is Leo and Raisa's complex marriage relationship, which takes a couple of unexpected turns. Along the way, there are several action sequences shot with shaky cameras and edited so they're impossible to follow. And there's a sense that the film also wants to be a grandiose Russian epic with its expansive cinematography and big orchestral score.
Continue reading: Child 44 Review
This fascinating true story is strong enough to hold up against the formulaic Hollywood treatment, boosted by another riveting performance from Helen Mirren. She adds some badly needed prickly humour to the film, which continually resorts to unsophisticated sentimentality as it traces a remarkable series of real events. And it helps that the story has some intriguing things to say about both art and history.
It opens in 1998 Los Angeles, where Maria Altmann (Mirren) has discovered some documents in her late sister's belongings that refer to a beloved portrait of their Aunt Adele (Antje Traue in flashbacks). The problem is that the painting is Gustav Klimt's Woman in Gold, which is regarded as the "Mona Lisa of Austria" and held in pride of place in the national gallery. Since Austria has begun restoring art stolen from its citizens by the Nazis, Maria hires novice family-friend lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who quickly realises the futility of the case. But they travel to Vienna to begin the process, getting some help navigating the system from local journalist Hubertus (Daniel Bruhl). Sure enough, the Austrian government fights Maria at every step of the way.
The compelling argument in this film is that if Austria acknowledges that this national treasure was stolen, it implicates the government and the population in complicity with the Nazis. And that's something no one is willing to do. There's also of course the issue of greed, since Woman in Gold is worth $100 million. But Maria's simple question is why the painting's value or status matter when its true ownership is so clear. Director Simon Curtis and writer Alexi Kaye Campbell wisely dash through the series of hearings, court cases and appeals, while emphasising this undeniable fact of the case. Although this also simplifies most scenes into little more than "Nazis bad, Jews good". While the flashbacks to Maria's past are moving and informative, Randy's sideplots feel irrelevant and undercooked, featuring his pregnant wife (Katie Holmes) and sardonic boss (Charles Dance).
Continue reading: Woman in Gold Review
Helen Mirren's "great ambition" is to star in a 'Fast and Furious' movie.
Helen Mirren is not a woman to turn down difficult roles. She has, after all, played three different Queens of the United Kingdom and, in a voice part, the Queen of Egypt. Yet there is nothing 69-year-old Mirren would like more than to star in a Fast and Furious film and do her own driving stunts.
Helen Mirren would love to be in a Fast and Furious movie.
The stars of the epic series walked the red carpet at the historic London landmark on Wednesday night, ahead of the fifth season premiere.
The Tower of London provided a suitably epic backdrop for the ‘Game of Thrones’ fifth season premiere on Wednesday night. The historic London venue saw stars including Kit Harington and Natalie Dormer gather for the series’ first ever European premiere, in front of hundreds of die hard fans.
Kit Harington at the 'Game of Thrones' season 5 premiere
As fitting a setting as the medieval venue was for the festivities, The Tower found itself given a ‘Thrones’ style makeover for the evening, which included dragons being projected onto the walls and bonfires being placed in the grounds.
Charles Dance - Shots of a variety of stars as they arrived to the World premiere of the fifth season of 'Game of Thrones' which was held at the Tower Of London in London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 18th March 2015
Charles Dance - Shots of a variety of stars as they arrived to the World premiere of the fifth season of 'Game of Thrones' which was held at the Tower of London in London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 18th March 2015
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless, priceless artefacts. One of these artefacts was the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and an Austrian Holocaust survivor has the perfect claim to it. Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) hires Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a lawyer of Austrian decent, to help her become once again acquainted with the famous painting of her aunt. The problem is, that the painting is held in a Vienna art gallery, and the Austrian government are adamant in keeping the national treasure. Altmann, on the other hand, is desperate to get back what is rightfully hers.
Continue: Woman In Gold - Trailer And Clips
The actor plays military man Leo Demidov in the Tom Rob Smith adaptation.
Tom Hardy has a go at yet another accent in the Ridley Scott produced 'Child 44', an adaptation of Tom Rob Smith's award-winning 2008 novel about a series of brutal murders during the time of the Soviet Union.
Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy go head to head in 'Child 44'
Hardy plays a former Russian military officer named Leo Demidov in the thriller, who's offered the highest protection in the wake of his war heroism. But things take a dark turn when it becomes apparent that a set of ongoing child killings are being covered up by the authorities, and Demidov wants to do the right thing and find the perpetrator - to much anger from his Stalin obsessed superiors.
During the Second World War, many Russian men were able to make a name for themselves as heroes. Returning home to their victorious country, many discovered that the Communist utopia they had fought to defend may have been more fictitious than they originally thought. For Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy), this truth comes harshly. Having become a hero for his efforts in the war against Germany, Demidov is given the job as a secret policeman. But when he comes across the case of a potential serial killer that hunts children, his superiors refuse to acknowledge the crime, maintaining that they live in a perfect world. After being exiled from Moscow for refusing to drop the case, Demidov must search for the real truth behind the killings, despite knowing that the truth could be dangerous.
Continue: Child 44 Trailer
'Game of Thrones' will return for season 5 in April.
Game of Thrones season five will premiere on HBO on April 12, the organization announced at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. An expanded cast has already been announced, including a slew of family members of Prince Oberyn, played by Pedro Pascal in season four.
Game of Thrones will return for season 5 in April
The show's fourth season is up for Best TV Series Drama at the Golden Globes this weekend and was nominated for 14 Emmys this past summer, eventually coming away with the gongs for visual effects, makeup, costumes and art direction.
Continue reading: It's Time: 'Game of Thrones' Season 5 to Premiere on April 12
Charles Dance - Photographs of a host of stars as they arrived for the Moet British Independent Film Awards which were held at the Old Billingsgate in London, United Kingdom - Sunday 7th December 2014
The New York premier for 'The Imitation Game' saw celebrities fall upon the Ziegfeld Theatre in droves, amongst them were 'Game of Thrones'' Charles Dance, as well as Matthew Goode and wife Sophie Dymoke.
The New York premiere for 'The Imitation Game' took place at the Ziegfeld Theatre, with stars of the film and various celebrities including the film's star, Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbtach was joined by the rest of the cast, including Kiera Knightly, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and acting legend Charles Dance.
Charles Dance - Shots of a host of stars as they arrived and took to the red carpet at the Premiere of 'The Imitation Game' which was held at The Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 17th November 2014
GOSFORD PARK star CHARLES DANCE has blasted PARIS HILTON after TV bosses decided to air the socialite's reality series instead of his new drama.The veteran...