It’s Oldman & Hardy, Not Laurel & Hardy

DATELINE:  Serial Killer in Soviet Union

Pictured: Oldman & Hardy

Oldman & Hardy


Child 44 is a brutal murder mystery. However, it is far more than the sum of its parts. It cost a pretty penny to make, extremely well-produced, but just who is the audience?

Banned in Russia, the film depicts an infamous serial killer of young boys in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s—and how several government military police investigate to undercover him. It is all the more difficult because Stalinist Russia does not recognize the concept of “murder in paradise.”

This is not entertainment in any traditional sense.

Tom Hardy continues to impress as the disgraced, but dedicated military hero. He works here with Noomi Rapace as his wife who is under suspicion as a British agent. They are hounded and forced to solve murders to save their skins.

Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy team up again, but the only fun is watching their nuanced performances in a disturbing story.

Director Daniel Espinosa does not paint a pretty picture. With its grey drab settings amid a depressing world of the Soviet regime, the film was banned in Putin’s Russia, though it probably deserves to be seen there.

What really transpires is a story of how a homicide bureau was finally established in Moscow.

Gary Oldman and Charles Dance are recognizable faces in the cast, but Philip Seymour Hoffman died before he could join them as one of the Soviet heads of the military.

If we recommend a movie like this, it is because it is striking in its utter dark vision. This is not a picture you want to view to escape dreary, rainy days.

Once again, a good film generally must have viewers who appreciate the message and the artfulness. As we progress into the 21st century of video games and shallow entertainment, intelligent and dark movies are an endangered species. This one joins the list.