Accents are starting to become Tom Hardy’s “thing.” Whether he’s adopting a Brooklyn mumble in The Drop, a dulcet Welsh cadence in Locke, an Australian accent for Mad Max: Fury Road, or the gypsy timbre he aimed for in The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy is a chameleon of inflections. So he makes a natural fit for Child 44, the latest film from Safe House director Daniel Espinosa.
Espinosa’s movie adapts the best-selling yarn by Tom Rob Smith for the screen; Smith used the real-life misdeeds of Andrei Chikatilo as the basis for his novel, the first in a trilogy that chronicles the growing paranoia and political turmoil of Soviet Russia alongside his central murder.
So Child 44 isn’t light reading, which probably means it won’t be light viewing, either. Hardy plays Leo Demidov, an agent in Russia’s secret police force who is exiled from his home in Moscow for staunchly refusing to brand his wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace), as a traitor. Leo’s new posting puts him in contact with General Mikhail Nesterov (Gary Oldman), who implores him to help with a grisly ongoing investigation. There’s a serial killer on the loose, slaying young boys with impunity, and Nesterov hopes to end the carnage.
The film reunites Hardy with Rapace following their collaboration on The Drop, and with Oldman, who worked with the up and comer on the excellent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2011. Also on board: Joel Kinnaman (Robocop), Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and Vincent Cassel, which makes for one seriously stacked cast.
But great cast or no, Child 44 will likely succeed or fail based on how well it sticks to Smith’s themes and plays to its era. How does a person solve a murder when authorities refuse to acknowledge the murder to begin with? We’ll see how that goes in just a few short months.
Child 44 opens in theaters April 17th, 2015.