Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cast: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
After a friend’s son is found dead, Soviet secret-police officer Leo Demidov (Hardy) suspects his superiors are covering up the truth. When Leo dares to raise questions, he is demoted and exiled to a provincial outpost with his wife (Rapace). There, Leo soon discovers other mysterious deaths with similar circumstances and convinces his new boss (Oldman) that a deranged serial killer is on the loose—and must be stopped before he strikes again in this electrifying thriller.
When well respected Soviet Military officer Leo Demidov (Hardy) is sent to deliver news to one of his best friends and wife regarding an apparent accident that resulted in the death of their son, their insistence on the facts being falsified causes Leo to begin inquiring further about whether it truly was an accident, or in fact a murder as his friend claims. Shortly after asking a few too many questions, Leo is significantly demoted and sent with his wife to a new position in a militia. Having accepted his fate and trying to move on, as more bodies of children in identical ways are discovered at his new post, he convinces his new boss to allow him to investigate further. Regardless of what it may take or cost him, Leo begins investigating every possible end, refusing to give up until the murderer is discovered and apprehended.
Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) directed ‘Child 44’ from a screenplay by Richard Price (Clockers, Ransom) which was based upon the novel by Tom Rob Smith. Espinosa does a wonderful job at the helm, beautifully guiding this fast paced and powerful story without missing any of the important surrounding elements which themselves are quite breathtaking. The film additionally owes a great deal to the talented individuals who make up the cast, including Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Fares Fares and more, all of whom deliver exceptional performances in each of their respective roles, although I found Tom Hardy and Joel Kinnaman to be the ones that really stole the show.
‘Child 44’ is a thoroughly impressive film that delivers plenty of intense action and intriguing mystery, in addition to exceptional performances by a number of incredibly talented actors. It will grab hold, pull you in and not let go until its brutal conclusion. The attire and surroundings are absolutely gorgeous and look spot-on with what one would expect of the time period, never failing to miss even one noticeable detail of the people or the environment on screen. Some wonderfully done scene transitions also perfectly compliment this powerful thriller, such as the screaming breaks of an arriving train flawlessly transitioning into the screaming of children running down a school hallway. Overall, ‘Child 44’ is an enthralling, powerful and at times somewhat disturbing film with outstanding performances and I would highly recommend checking it out. This is a beautifully done period piece thriller that is not to be missed.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Child 44’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole, delivering a richly detailed presentation throughout, holding up admirably during even the numerous darkly lit sequences and never causing anything occurring on screen to become indiscernible in the slightest; no notable faults of any kind were found within on my end. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should not disappoint.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic, utilizing all five available channels with consistency to surround the viewer with the films beautiful score in addition to bullets whizzing past and any number of other properly fitting auditory elements throughout, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become negatively affected or distorted. Overall, this is a more than competent and often quite aggressive 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should easily please.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Child 44’ doesn’t contain a great deal in the way of bonus content. The sole extra on the release is a Behind the Scenes Featurette titled ‘Reflections of History: Recreating the World of Child 44’ which runs just over 8 minutes in length and includes members of the cast and crew discussing the films time period, it’s specifics and importance in the film. The ‘Theatrical Trailer’ for the movie is also included.