Tom Hardy is an actor whose star is definitely on the rise in Hollywood. He has played the iconic villain Bane in the Dark Knight Rises, and has also replaced Mel Gibson as Mad Max. Both of those were big budget blockbuster movies, but one would almost forget that he is just a terrific actor, that can handle pretty much every role that they throw at him. Anyone who might have seen the small movie The Drop, should know what I am talking about. Child 44, based on a best selling novel, shows another example of his briljant acting skills. Even though the movie itself has it’s flaws, it is worth seeing for his performance alone.
Child 44 takes place in Moscow in the year 1953. Leo Demidov is a rising star in the Russian secret police. One day the child of his closest friend is found dead at a railroad. The death is ruled as an accident, but it soon becomes apparent that there is something far more sinister going on. A serial killer that preys on young children has entered the heart of Russia. Leo is the one who is determined to find him, and bring him to justice. However it is a task that is easier said than done as his own country states that murder is a disease brought on by capitalism. If Leo continues on the path he is taking, he will be branded a traitor. It becomes increasingly more dangerous for him to investigate the case, and meanwhile the killing continues…
Child 44 has a lot of good things going for it. Most notably the cast which consists of the likes of Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace and ofcourse Tom Hardy. The acting in this movie is exemplary, and Tom in the role of Leo definitely shows why he is currently one of the best actors in Hollywood. But Noomi Rapace playing his wife is also very good in her role. Another thing this movie does well is create a very gritty atmosphere. Everything in this movie feels very dirty, and one really gets a feel of what it would have been like to live in Russia in that age. (And let me tell you that was definitely no picnic). Where the movie falls short is in the script department. The movie runs for more than two hours, which would not be a bad thing, were it not for the fact that the pacing at times is too slow.
There are also a lot of storylines going on at once, and that at times feels like they tried to put too much into one film. This is a real shame as this movie definitely had the potential to be a classic, especially considering the amount of talent involved. That said this movie is still well worth seeing. Tom Hardy simply plays one of his best roles to date, and the cinematography is also done very well. Even though the movie is long and does have it’s slow points as mentioned above, I still found this movie to be enjoyable enough. If you are looking for a dark and gritty thriller and are willing to accept a few of the weaker points of this film, you could do worse than this one.
I give Child 44 a 7 out 10 score.