“Child 44” a complex and intriguing masterpiece


Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace star in “Child 44.” (Internet Photo)

Emily Schulz, Staff Writer

In two hours and seventeen minutes of the movie “Child 44,” based on the novel by Tom Rob Smith, there is action, romance, ironic comedy, sadness and shock. Just hearing a summary about the movie doesn’t impress much. Unless you’re a history buff and would love to learn about Stalin-era Soviet Union, it wouldn’t be your first choice, but “Child 44” exceeds all expectations.

It’s rated R but I thought at least a few young adults would go see it. I had my doubts during the opening credits but as soon as the movie starts with white bold words against a pitch black screen saying, “There is no murder in paradise,” I knew this movie was going to be worth seeing.

“Child 44” follows Leo Demidov, played by Tom Hardy, an orphaned boy in Soviet Russia. As a child, Demidov runs away from his neglectful orphanage to join the army, growing up and obtaining a high position in the MGB: the Soviet intelligence agency. A traitor gives the MGB a list of names of other traitors and Leo’s wife, Raisa, played by Noomi Rapace, appears on the list. Instead of denouncing her like he was ordered to, Leo’s unwavering love for Raisa results in his demotion. Just out of view of the MGB’s accusing eyes, Leo is determined to fight for the truth amidst all the lies of the Soviet Union. The main lie being that the Soviet Union is a paradise and “There is no murder in paradise.”

While watching this movie, I couldn’t help think that this was definitely a book first. The amount of character development and interweaving complicated plot lines hint at a deeply thought-out story and leave you thinking about it days later. There is nothing better than the protagonist rising from the ashes of his corrupted old life. The author of the original novel, Tom Rob Smith, exposes life during Soviet-reign including schooling, treatment of orphans, homosexuality, the justice system or lack there of, gender differences and the negative effects of a caste system. It is thought provoking as well as action-packed with a fantastic cast.

If people know how interesting the story really is, “Child 44,” would be much more successful–especially considering its meager $600,000 gross opening weekend. It is a movie that makes me look at the world differently and appreciate the type of society we live in. The adult themes are less appealing over light comedies like “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” but “Child 44” is a masterpiece when you actually experience it.

There is no talk of a movie sequel despite the novel being the first of a trilogy. For fans of the movie that want to know what happens to Leo and Raisa Demidov, Tom Rob Smith wrote “The Secret Speech” and “Agent 6.” “Child 44” is so impressive that anyone who sees this movie will definitely be asking for more.