STORY: Leo Demidov (Hardy) is a reputed and respected member of the MGB, the Soviet military police. He falls from grace when he tries to protect the woman he loves, Raisa Demidova (Rapace), from being persecuted. He gets a second chance at restoring his career and reputation when he later investigates and tries to nab the person behind a series of gory killings.

REVIEW: At the beginning of the film, we see Leo flirt with the sublimely attractive Raisa at a dinner table while in the company of friends during one post war party. He doesn’t mince words about how fine he thinks she looks. He is confident on the verge of being blustery. But she brings his feet back on the ground when she corrects him when he calls her by another woman’s name, by mistake. He has no idea about what a pivotal role Raisa will play in his life in the years to come, by which time the two are deeply in love and almost inseparable.

But Leo isn’t just a lover boy; when his friend’s son is murdered, he takes it upon himself to uncover the identity of the criminal who goes about his grisly task with surgical precision. Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot gives Child 44 an authentically bleak and cold look, replete with shades of grey, brown and cloudy blues. The period detailing too is superb.However, Gary Oldman makes a curious choice a Soviet general and the film can drag at times due to its runtime. But that aside, what we do get is a revealing and no-holds-barred look at life behind the Iron Curtain. It busts the myth that the Russians, during the Cold war era, were emotionless propaganda machines.

Tom Hardy has clearly carved a niche for himself as an actor with versatility as his middle name. Right from his breakthrough performance in Inception to Mad Max: Fury Road and now this, if you do decide to watch this film, it will be to check out the kind of realism that Hardy brings to his character.

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