Child 44

Incoherent adaptation of a complex novel

I greatly enjoyed Tom Rob Smith’s complex novel about a disillusioned Stalinist-era cop hunting a serial killer of children in a country that refuses to acknowledge that such aberrations exist in the Soviet paradise. If you ignore the varying “Roo-ssian y’accents,” the acting, by Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman is solid, and the filmmakers create an effective if exaggerated atmosphere of retro red-baiting, claustrophobic paranoia.

But the direction is inert, the adaptation all but incoherent, the ending anti-climactic, and the whole overlong thing curiously devoid of thrills or suspense. Japanese title: Child 44: Mori ni Kieta Kodomotachi. (147 min)