Solace Slips Through the Psychic Cracks

DATELINE:  Sensing Solution


You may take some solace that brilliant movies often come as a surprise, unexpected gems of intelligence and deft acting. The paranormal thriller, Solace, with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell may seem to be out of the slush pile of scripts.

The story features a psychic working for the FBI who hunts for a serial killer.

Don’t be fooled by the summary of the plot.

The film turns out to be a chess game with the Grim Reaper.

What can you say about a film that uses quotes from poet Gerard Manley Hopkins as a clue—and operatic lines as foreshadows?

Clairvoyance gives the director Afonso Poyart a chance to show his skills with quick edits and sharp images to display past and/or future as the case re  quires. Hopkins plays his character, Dr. Clancy, with low key stoicism, except in moments of revelation.

He is teamed with a psychologist, Agent Cowles, another FBI agent with disdain for the paranormal. Abbie Cornish as Cowles gives the story an equal opportunity dimension that works well.

There may be a bond between two psychics in this movie, but the real intriguing concept is an opportunity to open up metaphysical debate about mercy killing under the guise of a thriller.

Farrell enters the picture rather late in the plot, but his appearance provides a matchmate for Hopkins. Both had appeared together previously in the disastrous Alexander the Great. They saved the great stuff for this movie.

The picture has much more in common with The Sixth Sense than a crime melodrama, and it was offered to Bruce Willis (star of the other psychic movie) but he passed on this. No matter, the end product in Solace is striking and engrossing, using the occasional car chase and bloody scene to make its point.

Beginning with a dictionary definition of “solace” in the opening credits,  you will take great solace in discovering this movie.