Taglines: How do you find a killer who doesn’t exist?
During Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union in the early 1950s, disgraced Ministry of State Security (MGB) Agent Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) uncovers a strange and brutal series of child murders by a serial killer who everyone claims does not exist because it is Soviet doctrine that it is capitalism, not communism which creates serial killers.
A child is orphaned during the Holodomor in the Ukrainian S.S.R. in the early 1930s during Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union. He runs away from his orphanage and is taken in by Soviet soldiers. They give him the nickname “Leo”, and with them he honours himself in battle and becomes a war hero.
In the early 1950s, Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) is now a Ministry of State Security (MGB) Agent who uncovers a strange and brutal series of child murders. MGB leadership refuses to acknowledge the deaths as murders, because Soviet doctrine states that only capitalism produces serial murder. The son of Leo’s partner is murdered by the serial killer and during Leo’s investigation, his wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace), is accused of being disloyal to the state. Leo suspects that his amoral and ambitious enemy in the MGB, Vasili Nikitin (Joel Kinnaman), is behind the charges. Leo refuses to support the accusation, and he is forced to take a demeaning militia position in the town of Volsk. Raisa accompanies him and must work as a janitor.
In Volsk Leo meets his new commander, General Nesterov (Gary Oldman). Meanwhile, Vasili calls Raisa and attempts to persuade her to leave Leo and join him in Moscow. When she refuses, Vasili orders a local MGB man to abuse her. Raisa later admits to Leo that she agreed to marry him because she was afraid to refuse the proposal given his high rank (at the time) within the MGB.
More child murder victims are discovered in Volsk, and after Leo tells Raisa that he suspects a serial killer, she decides to help his investigation. Together they convince Nesterov and his wife that the deaths must be investigated as serial murder. Further investigation reveals that the killer has claimed at least 44 victims and that he is traveling the rail lines to find his targets.
Leo and Raisa travel in secret to Moscow to interview a woman who reported seeing the killer. The interview is unproductive, and to escape possible pursuit by the MGB, they seek out Raisa’s former colleague. During the meeting Raisa discovers that the colleague is an informer planning to turn them in to the MGB, and Leo kills him. Leo tells Raisa that she can leave him if she wishes, but she chooses to stay with him.
Child 44 is ar American-British mystery thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Richard Price, and based on Tom Rob Smith’s novel Child 44 (2008). The film stars Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, and Vincent Cassel. It was released on 17 April 2015 to mostly negative reviews, and bombed at the box office.
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Clarke, Joel Kinnaman, Agnieszka Grochowska
Screenplay by: Richard Price
Production Design by: Jan Roelfs
Cinematography by: Oliver Wood
Film Editing by: Pietro Scalia, Dylan Tichenor
Costume Design by: Jenny Beavan
Set Decoration by: Sophie Hervieu
Music by: Jon Ekstrand
MPAA Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, language and a scene of sexuality.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: April 17, 2015