The story is based on a novel that I haven’t read, so I will treat this as a separate piece. It revolves around Tom Hardy’s character who is a high ranking police official during Stalin’s era in Russia (circa 1950’s) where political turmoil and wounded culture are the norms of the society and public discrimination and injustice are rampant due to accusations of being spies. All of his career went downhill when he didn’t denounce his wife who is accused of being a traitor. Because of this, he was demoted and sent to a remote area where he met with Gary Oldman’s character. What connected them to his life in Moscow is the incident of child murders and this gave him the opportunity to solve this while seemingly getting his life back.
The movie seemed to be having a bit too much plots to tell and it wasn’t really told very well. The editing isn’t done neatly, it is just scattered. The movie has its highs and lows in terms of the pacing. The first few minutes got me hooked up with story build up and some intense scenes then became slower and slightly dragging. Some scenes were unnecessary and they could’ve concentrated the story a bit to lessen the film’s running time. The mystery element (because of child murders) could’ve helped set the tone of suspense and thrill for the flick but it wasn’t there (well, basing on the trailer, this should be the focus).
There are also few good things in the film that deserved recognition. One was the stellar performances of Tom Hardy, Noomi Panace and Joel Kinnaman, provided a solid and very realistic approach to their characters, their accents really are believable. Though Gary Oldman’s screen time is very short, he also delivered a solid performance but it could’ve been better if he as utilized more. Cinematography and CGI delivered well and you can really feel the gritty and dark atmosphere during that era.
All in all, I would give 3 out of 5 stars. It is a good movie but the director could have played a little bit more to spice the movie up. The movie could have potential to be a good mystery thriller but they wasted the opportunity.
Photo credits to the owners of the image.