"Child 44" is based on the 2008 bestselling novel by Tom Rob Smith. The film opens in Berlin at the end of the war in 1945 where we are briefly introduced
to Russian soldier Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy). The story then moves on to Russia in 1953 where Demidov is now an investigator for the MGB,a state-run security
force that hunts for rebels who are allegedly spying for the west. When a colleague's son is killed at first he complies with the Stalinist rule that
murder is a capitalist disease and that there are no murders in the soviet state, the death is put down as a tragic accident. When other children start to
die in mysterious circumstances Demidov starts to have doubts about the causes of the deaths and against the wishes of his superiors he starts to
investigate the deaths.
Unfortunately Stalins Russia is not a place that you want to be a nonconformist and when an arrested spy names Leo's schoolteacher wife (Noomi Rapace), as
a fellow spy Leo refuses to denounce her leading him to be stripped of his rank and he and his wife are sent to a remote industrial city where he has to
serve as an ordinary policeman under General Nasterov (Gary Oldman).
Leo then manages to persuade Nesterov to help him investigate the string of child murders that have happened in the Moscow area.
"Child 44" is more than just a murder mystery, it also about the fear and suspicion that was so prevalent in post-war Russia, any act of defiance or the
wrong word to the wrong person could lead to deportation or at worst death. However this is the films weakness, trying to say so much about Stalins Russia,
the main thread of the story the child murders, is shunted to a minor part of the story. Hardy (we'll forgive him the dodgy Russian accent) is as always
excellent as are Rapace and Oldman.
starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel
UK Release: Friday 17th April 2015