(Tom Hardy, Fares Fares, Joel Kinnaman, Mark Lewis Jones, Xavier Atkins, et al / DVD / R / 2015 / LGF)
Overview: A disgraced member of the military police investigates a series of nasty child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
DVD Verdict: Based on the book 'Child 44' by Tom Rob Smith, this brand new film is ** SPOILER ALERT ** nothing like said book! The whole incredible twisting in's and out's of the book with the separate stories that begin to come together are completely ignored. Vasili, who in the book was a twisted cruel jealous protégé, is for some reason now an underdog younger brother we're meant to root for.
WHAT? The traumatic past Raisa based on true events is non existent, and her coin that causes so much internal struggle for Leo and is a key part of the story is forgotten. As a special f*ck you to any audience members who have read the book, the opening scene is of 12 year old Leo playing with the coin. No explanation is given throughout the film. The past of Leo/Paval is also completely ignored.
Instead they just show him running from an orphanage and getting adopted by his new father (Gary Oldman) who just happens to be a military general who is willing to adopt a child. Yep, that heart wrenching story about the dead Leo is also gone.
Also, remember the awesome plan Leo and Raisa have to do to escape the gulag transport train? With the thousands of hooks under the train forcing them to use a dead mans tooth to break a floor board, jump under the train and use the dead body to protect them? The way they had to convince all the other prisoners to help them because they were going to stop a serial killer? Nope! Instead, they just ... wait for it ... wait for it ... they OPEN A DOOR AND JUMP OUT!! Yep. The selfless help of the prisoners aboard is ignored, and the following scene in the village which explains their escape properly is yet again non existent.
In closing, and as a whole, 'Child 44' is itself is very gruesome and is not for everyone, but you will enjoy the background and the setting of the movie. The glimpse to what life in Soviet Russia really was like is powerful, if not twisted to the perspective of a director who should have either known better, or read the original book to actually, literally know better! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
"Reflections of History" Featurette