A Crime in Paradise
Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) returned from the war a hero and found himself in a good job as a security officer in the pro-Stalin force. But it is an era where the party line is that crime doesn't exist and as such when he decides to investigate a series of child murders, including one of a friend, he finds himself ostracized, his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) comes up for investigation and the both of them packaged off away from the city where Leo is to work for General Mikhail Nesterov (Gary Oldman) and his militia. But Leo and Raisa cannot leave alone and put themselves in danger not only by continuing to investigate the case of the serial child killer but also conspiracy at a higher level.
"Stay with it", that is my advice if you go to watch "Child 44" especially if you watch because of your fondness for any of the cast as this is a movie with a difficult first half but an easier second half. I have to admit that I am not sure I completely understood everything which went on in this movie and I suspect those who have read the book from which it is adapted might have a better understanding of all the events. What I am on about is that we start with scenes of Leo as an orphan, next he is an officer giving chase to someone played by Jason Clarke. Why? Well I guess he is some traitor but unless you understand the era this isn't very clear and there are all these little bits during the first half which make it messy, such as what is the relationship between Leo and his wife as there seems to be little love.
But as I said this is a movie which you need to get through to the second half for it all too really make sense as we watch Leo and Raisa working together to catch a child murderer and deal with someone in the force who has been causing them trouble. Again I am not entirely sure I got all of the detail but the second half is much more a traditional good guys sneaking around and getting evidence which is easier to follow and a lot more entertaining for those who watch because of their fondness for the actors.
On the subject of which I have to say that "Child 44" is a movie which I wouldn't say Tom Hardy struggles with but playing a Russian and having to deal with delivering the accent almost feels like it is taking something away from his usual performance. But it isn't just Hardy as Noomi Rapace seems to struggle to really establish herself with a character which in truth doesn't feel like it has much character. Basically the whole movie feels like it is struggling to emerge from the constraints of being set in Russia during the Stalin era with actors struggling to bring their characters to life whilst coming across as authentic.
What this all boils down to is that "Child 44" didn't really do it for me as whilst the second half entertained the first half was hard work and the whole thing feels like the period and place hamper the storyline from really grabbing you.