Child 44 movie full length review - The two stars is for the only two performances in this thing.
OK. As someone who'd known about this movie for a solid 9 months before its release - namely due to the powerhouse of acting talent involved - I saw despite the somewhat mixed reviews on it.
Rotten Tomatoes didn't look great BUT critics gave good reviews. Those critics smegging lied to my face! The only two people who come out of this thing without a blemish on them are Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace; not only is the relationship between Leo and Raisia an ever-evolving, three-dimension thing and literally the only good characterisation to movie offers, but on their own they give performances that give depth and nuance beyond the surface. But I'm going to target the three things in this movie that are god awful.
DIRECTING: The action scenes in this movie combine many things that action-movies do too much of: shoot too close to the action, cut away at moments that should be held, shaky cam for days AND a hero who gets a beaten silly and shrugs it off like it was nothing. This makes the film completely fail as an action movie, especially when some of the stuntwork is laughable. There's a scene where a guy of average build and fairly short sature throws Tom Hardy over his head like he was throwing a sleeping bag; you can just imagine the audience reaction. The final fight scene is Leo, his arch-nemesis Vasili and Raisia fighting in a mud-pit, with shaky-cam, too many cuts and shooting too close...who hired this guy? VILLAIN: I have to talk about this because this movie does something unbelievable. The titular murder of 44 children makes up the B-plot of the movie, and the actual child-murderer is the secondary villain. I'm not joking; the child murderer played by Paddy Considine is not well developed, characterised or shot and once he actually comes face-to-face with Leo, the film drops him like a bag of s**t and instead replaces him with Joel Kinnaman's Vasili, who is by far the most stupid, predictable, unlikeable, 1D villain I've seen in a while. This guy does stuff for literally no reason other than to be a villain. His only reason to be nasty to Leo is at the beginning of the film, Leo and his gang (which Vasili's) part of, try and find a fugitive, and after the aforementioned fight scene where Leo is chucked around, Vasili shoots the owners of the farm WHO WEREN'T EVEN HIDING HIM in front of their children, so Leo punches him and calls him a prick. Following this, he goes to insane levels to get back at him, including having him shamed and expelled from the secret police, trying to force his wife to sleep with him, killing and terrorising his friends FOR NO REASON. This is not a good villain in anyway; the only thing he could be is threatening, but he's too stupid to outsmart the heroes and not strong enough in combat to match Leo physically.
WRITING: The complete failure of this film is the script. Even at 2 hours 17 minutes, it does not come close to fitting anything in well, with the poorly characterised characters other than Leo and Raisia, the insulting motives of the child murderer, the bad pacing. Basically it all sucks.
Part of my anger is the fact I wasted a lot of time watching this AND I paid to see it - yes, out of the 3.3 million it grossed, some of that was me. I wish I got a refund. If you do still want to see this, see it if its on TV.