Monday, 23 November 2015

Child 44

Sue and I finally managed to get around to watching the DVD of the film CHILD 44. The story is based (very loosely) on the story of the hunt for Andrei Chikatilo, a Soviet serial killer who is thought to have killed more than 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990.

The film is based on Tom Rob Smith's book of the same title which is set during the last day's of Stalin's regime in Soviet Russia. The film's makers took great pains to try to capture the 'look' of the period, and I must admit that I found it reasonably convincing, as was the atmosphere of continual uncertainty as to who one could or could not trust.

The cast includes:
  • Tom Hardy (as Leo Demidov, former war hero and member of the MGB who is disgraced and sent to Volsk)
  • Noomi Rapace (as Raisa Demidova, Leo's wife, who is a school teacher)
  • Joel Kinnaman (as Vasili Nikitin, a former soldier who is Leo's main rival in the MGB)
  • Gary Oldman (as General Nesterov, head of the Militia in Volsk)
  • Vincent Cassel (as Major Kuzmin, Leo's superior officer in the MGB)
  • Jason Clarke (as Anatoly Brodsky, a veterinary surgeon who is accused of being a British spy, and who names Raisa as one of his contacts when he is tortured)
  • Paddy Considine (as Vladimir Malevich, a former Soviet Army surgeon who works in a tractor factory)
  • Fares Fares (as Alexei Andreyev, also a former war hero, who is Leo friend and a fellow officer in the MGB)
  • Charles Dance (as Major Grachev, Major Kuzim's replacement)
  • Tara Fitzgerald (as Inessa Nesterov, General Nesterov's wife)
One interesting aspect of the film is that its opening scenes depict the fighting inside the Reichstag building in Berlin, and the staged raising of the Soviet Red Flag over the building after it had been captured.

When it was released, this film got a lot of bad reviews, but I felt that although it strayed somewhat from the plot of the book, which was itself considerably different from the original story of the hunt for Andrei Chikatilo (the story of this hunt for a serial killer is told exceptionally well in the film CITIZEN X), I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in life in Stalin's Russia.


  1. That's grim stuff. Looks good though particularly the cast list.

  2. Conrad Kinch,

    It is a very grim picture of what life must have been like in the last years of Stalin's reign, and the cast did a good job of portraying the level of double-thinking paranoia within the population.

    All the best,



Thank you for leaving a comment. Please note that any comments that are spam or contain phishing messages or that come from Google Accounts that are 'Unknown' will be deleted.