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
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.
Hbo fans will be excited to hear that one of networks biggest and most memorable stars, James Gandolfini, is to return in a pilot for a new drama, reports U.S.A Today.
Gandolfini is of course most famous for his portrayal of Tony Soprano in, arguably, HBO’s most successful show of all time, The Sopranos. He is now set to reignite his love affair with the paid-for TV channel by starring in the pilot for a new adaptation of Criminal Justice, a BBC series created by Peter Moffat that – like another of HBO’s big hitters, The Wire - follows a single case across an entire season. Screenwriter, Steven Zaillian - responsible for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - and novelist Richard Price are writers and executive producers on the new project, and Zaillian will direct the pilot episode, which will be filmed this fall in New York City in a co-production with BBC Worldwide.
Inevitably, talk of Gandolfini’s return has sparked debate as to whether fans are in line for ‘the new Sopranos,’ but can Criminal Justice be as good as the gangster show? Well, it’s hard to tell, considering the pilot hasn’t even been filmed yet, but it’ll have to be some show to take on David Chase’s New Jersey behemoth, which is often cited as the best TV drama of all time. No pressure, then.
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