(First attempt, Video on-demand, August 2015) My wife and I paid for this video on-demand movie, stuck through its first dreary fifteen minutes, then gave up: The movie apparently starts three times, but without any kind of compelling narrative hook or moment-to-moment narrative rhythm. We never went back to the film. Child 44 got horrible reviews from the film-critic community, and I can understand why: Even months later, I’m not exactly in any hurry to go back and see what we missed.
(On Cable TV, November 2016) Re-watching Child 44 and sticking to it until the end did it absolutely no favours. It’s still an unimaginably dull movie. Viewers suffocate under the weight of the Soviet regime, and the movie does its best to make the suffering last as long as possible with subplots that go nowhere, glacial pacing, uninteresting characters and a direction that does its best to kill whatever tension, suspense or interest that the movie may hold. Even for a historical thriller in which our disgraced heroes track down a detestable child murderer, Child 44 is unbelievably boring. The top-notch cast (Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnerman, Vincent Cassel, etc.) isn’t given anything interesting to do or to say. There is potential in the premise of the film, and sometimes in the picture it shows—but that potential does not extend to anything approaching entertainment or viewing pleasure—the film takes forever to start, take forever to build and forever to end. I’ve seen far worse movies this year, but even the bad one still had more entertainment value than Child 44. Complete dud.