Serial killers terrify and fascinate me. Not to sound morbid, but the idea that a person could do something so heinous as to torture and kill another person is mystifying to me. But at the same time, just knowing they exist is enough to make me lose sleep at night. When children are thrown into the mix, specifically as targets of a particular killer, now THAT is enough to make me squeamish on many levels. For this reason, I knew CHILD 44 was a must-see for me, and I loved it. Epic on a monumental scale, this film is enthralling, from start to finish.
If you are not familiar with CHILD 44, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:
After a friend’s son is found dead, Soviet secret-police officer Leo Demidov suspects his superiors are covering up the truth. When Leo dares to raise questions, he is demoted and exiled to a provincial outpost with his wife. There, Leo soon discovers other mysterious deaths with similar circumstances and convinces his new boss that a deranged serial killer is on the loose—and must be stopped before he strikes again in this electrifying thriller.
I was concerned about the running time of the film, which clocks in at over two hours in length. Many films that long tend to drag in the middle, thus making a boring movie experience. Thankfully, my concerns were unfounded. The run-time is perfect, and the movie keeps a nice, steady pace.
The cinematography in CHILD 44 is beautiful, and the movie is shot with a sense of grace. I would daresay it is artistic in some places. This helps to enhance the movie experience and immerse the viewer in the film.
The acting is excellent, with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace portraying the leads. I’ve been a fan of Hardy’s work for many years, while Rapace continues to impress me with her diverse acting ability. I read reviews that complained about their Russian accents, but I think both do a top-notch job with them. Likewise, Gary Oldman shines as a compliment to Hardy and Rapace.
The story in CHILD 44 is engaging and intense. Granted, it is lengthy, but it needs to be to help build the tension. I particularly like the complexity of the subplots as they relate to the main storyline. Just when you think a certain scene has nothing to do with the story, it comes full circle and you realize it is necessary to help build the plot. The resolution at the end of the film is also satisfying and just; I will not reveal anything, but I will say I was happy with how things wound up.
CHILD 44 is a major win for me, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good thriller. The acting performances are phenomenal, the story is intense and intriguing, and the movie as a whole is gorgeous. You just can’t ask for much more. The film is available now in a variety of formats.