Child 44

Featured In Issue 199, September 2015

WSR Score5
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Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Daniel Espinosa
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Based on the novel by Tom Rob Smith, Child 44 is a politically charged serial-killer thriller. After a friend's son is found dead, Soviet secret-police officer Leo Demidov (Hardy) suspects his superiors are covering up the truth. When Leo dares to raise questions, he is demoted and exiled to a provincial outpost with his wife (Rapace). There, Leo soon discovers other mysterious deaths with similar circumstances and convinces his new boss (Oldman) that a deranged serial killer is on the loose––and must be stopped before he strikes again. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurette Reflections Of History: Re-creating The World Of Child 44 (HD 08:18), the theatrical trailer, upfront previews, and an UltraDigital digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC Arriflex-filmed picture is warmly rendered with a rich color palette, with an emphasis on grayish-blue hues. Every scene appears dark and overcast, with little in the way of bright segments. Colors appear at times muted, and blacks lack a deep, solid presence. Contrast is diminished overall, for a darkish stylistic appearance. The reds, however, on the Russian secret-police uniforms are nicely saturated. Fleshtones retain a generally natural appearance, considering the darkish rendering. Resolution is quite good, with fine detail exhibited in facial features, hair, clothing, and object textures. This is a beautifully, if darkly, rendered picture, with excellent production design that heightens the realism of this period piece. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack delivers a mysterious sonic quality of terror and gloom, emotionalized by an effective orchestral music score. The music is spread wide and deep and extends to the surrounds, often with an aggressive presence. Atmospherics and sound effects are superbly heightened with deep .1 LFE energy, for example, the power of steam locomotive engines. At times, such sonics extend aggressively to the surrounds, to deliver a holosonic® soundfield. Dialogue in effectively integrated spatially. This is a wonderful soundtrack that delivers an emotionally and mysterious palette of sounds. (Gary Reber)