Fans of this blog (yes all 3 of you) I feel in reviewing this film I am doing you an injustice as I am struggling to look at it objectively. Child 44 is a cracking book. It’s interesting, compelling, set in an era I am unfamiliar with (which made it more intriguing) and is one I was looking forward to being adapted to the big screen, especially after the cast had been announced (Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Vincent Cassel), but i’ll try none the less.
Child 44 follows Leo Dermidov (Hardy) who after running away from an orphanage as a child becomes a hero in the Russian Military and at present is a member of the MGB in post WWII Moscow. After being outcast for not denouncing his suspected sympathiser of a wife (Naomi Rapace) he stumbles across then attempts to solve a series of child murders that match one he dismissed back in Moscow of a friend and colleague.
The Objective Points;
– The story is a mess. For some unknown reason you are left to assume many details and there are loads of plot points and themes that are started but then not developed at all.
– The characters on-screen are very bland and there is no real attempt to show a back story or any kind of motivation to why they are the way they are.
– Certain actors are underused given their quality and talent for no other reason than they are poorly written.
– The director does show the bleakness of the communist state and you get a real depressive as well as oppressive feeling from locations across Russia.
– I’m not sure having everyone attempt Russian accents was the right way to go. Some of them were ropy at best and then some characters clearly just didn’t even try. It gave an uneven flow to the dialogue which was disjointed with its detail anyway.
– The way they dealt with revealing the killer was just all around bad. There was no tension built, no mystery that could be unraveled, no real connection between anyone or anything.
– The action was pretty poorly shot and not very exciting at all with bloody shaky cam rearing its ugly head again.
The Subjective Points;
– The amount of plot points that were changed is staggering. I mean… the names of the characters were the same… and it was set in Russia… so I guess they can call it Child 44.
– The casting I thought could have been spot on but for whatever reason each and every character has been written differently. This not only angers me as a fan of the book but makes no sense at all in the grand scheme of the (changed) plot.
– The killer in the book and the killer in the film are 2 completely different people. And while he was teased out in the book there is just no way you would be able to guess who the guy was or why he was doing what he was in the film.
– Details… details, details, details. So many are missing. So many discussion points among the book readers are irrelevant as far as the film was concerned. It’s not like this was a short film either, there was plenty of time and no excuse to why this couldn’t have been made better by the director.
At worst it’s a shit adaptation and at best it’s a hastily made poorly directed movie. Fans of the book should DEFINITELY avoid and if you’ve not read it, go read it and pretend this doesn’t exist. It’s not as bad as Taken 3 but that’s all it has going for it.