<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 13, 2015

Review: Child 44 - A Well Acted Period Crime-Thriller About A Serial Child Killer

SHOWING FOR two weeks now at Ayala Cinemas only is “Child 44”, a whodunit thriller based on the best selling novel of Tom Rob Smith and set in Russia in 1953 when the grip of Stalin was waning in the USSR. Initially, you’d think it’s a wartime drama about the Soviet Secret Police. But beyond all the political power struggles and treachery is an intriguing crime and murder subplot that the state does not want to officially acknowledge because Stalin says “There’s no crime in paradise”.

The lead character is Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy), a Soviet secret police agent whose story actually starts in an orphanage before World War II when Ukrainians were starved to death by Stalin. He then becomes a war hero who is assigned, after the war, to hunt down traitors to the Communist cause. But he is quite kind compared to his friend, Vasili Nikitin (Joel Kinnaman), who tends to be needlessly violent.

When the son of another friend is brutally murdered, Leo tries to investigate the case but this gets derailed when his wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace), is herself suspected to be a traitor and Leo is tasked to also investigate her. He refuses to denounce his wife so they’re both exiled to industrial city of Volks.

Leo continues to investigate the murder case and discovers that the serial killer of young boys have already brutally killed 43 children and his friend’s son is actually Child 44. He asks the help of Gen. Nesterov (Gary Oldman) to uncover the identity of the killer and soon, he exposes more layers of corruption and abuse.

The film is made with admirable period production design and is quite well acted, especially by Tom Hardy as a man who is trying his best to do what is right, against all odds, and Noomi Rapace as his wife who is hostile to him at first, then supports him all the way. We’re just wondering why the European actors cast in the film are made to deliver their lines with Russian inflected accents as they’re not consistent with it all the time. The rumble scene in the mud at the film’s climax is very well executed. But the film is just too long at two and a half hours and can certainly stand some trimming to quicken the pacing.