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So, None Of The Awards? ‘Child 44’ With Gary Oldman & Tom Hardy Gets A Spring 2015 Release

by Edward Davis
July 15, 2014 3:30 PM
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Reader reports, audience reviews… meh. Sure you can keep tabs on that “coverage,” but posting about that stuff specifically can be hurtful or irresponsible to a film if the “reviews” are early and especially if they’re negative (hell, on the Internet they’re pretty easy to fabricate in either direction too). Finding out “early buzz” on a movie through test screenings isn’t hard if you’re looking for it. So that said, we’d been hearing a few whispers about “Child 44” and perhaps today’s news jibes with it.

It's got a strong pedigree around it: it's directed by Daniel Espinosa ("Easy Money" and "Safe House") and it stars Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joel Kinnaman, Noomi Rapace, Jason Clarke of “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,Paddy Considine and Dev Patel one of the stars of “Slumdog Millionaire.” That’s a pretty fantastic cast in anyone’s book, so the drama/thriller seems obvious to land during the awards season, right? Maybe not so much. 

Lionsgate/Summit have announced a date for the film and its April 17, 2015. Sure, that’s in the heart of smart indie season (see “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “Under The Skin” and “Enemy” from this year), but to date the movie before the fall film festival (where we presume it will premiere) season seems… a little odd. Clearly, "Child 44" is not being seen as a contender, and we'd wager probably plays as more a genre piece than anything or the studio doesn't believe it has the weight to swing with the bigger movies coming this fall.

Anyway, what's "Child 44" about? Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, the story centers on a disgraced MGB agent who is dispatched to investigate a series of child murders -- a case that begins to connect with the very top of party leadership.

Does this mean it’s going to bypass TIFF, Telluride, Venice, et al? Hard to say. If they think it's decent thriller and  nothing more and want early buzz, sure. If they don't want to risk middling to negative reviews, perhaps. The one route they could have taken was to gamble on the response from the film fest circuit and then date the movie. But to preemptively date it before it’s been shown in the fall… what can I say, if I were a betting man, I’d say this film will skip the circuit. I could be wrong and I hope I am. Maybe it’s just your good ol’ smart indie? Time will tell…

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  • Jason | July 15, 2014 8:39 PMReply

    This movie comes from a series of books and they've always had their eye on a franchise, not on awards. If they could have the kind of success Taken has had for example, they would be thrilled.

    This will be a mystery/thriller, a popcorn movie, nothing more. However, given its very dark subject matter, I don't think it's going to have a wide appeal anyway.

  • cirkusfolk | July 15, 2014 6:48 PMReply

    Early 2015 is looking quite weird as a high number of films look like they could be quality, in a season that usually churns out the worst films of the year. Hell, a freakin Michael Mann film, Cyber, opens 2015 while Guy Ritchie's, The Man From Uncle, follows it. You also have, The Black Sea, The Heart and the Sea, The Gunman, Jane Got a Gun, Modecai, Chappie and even the horror remakes Amityville and Poltergeist could be decent, and they all drop before March 10th.

  • TheoC | July 15, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    Loved the book, but it was surprising to see it on The Booker list, anyway it's a smart genre with two fairly satisfying sequels, I still have hopes this will be above average fare.

  • Peach | July 15, 2014 5:13 PMReply

    Books a page-turner, not Dostoyevsky. Cracking cast, should be entertaining to say the least.

  • T | July 15, 2014 4:38 PMReply

    Have read the book. The cast maybe stellar, however, the source material does not scream "awards" in any stretch of the imagination. Its a period piece detective thriller with a twisting ending.
    Never thought it would be an awards contender because there are no real standout characters written on the page, unless of course the screenwriters rewrote the parts altogether. Just my 2 cents.

  • James | July 15, 2014 4:50 PM

    Hmm... I'll have to disagree. The novel may be a thriller, but it was longlisted for the Booker Prize, which is almost unheard of for genre fiction. And the characters are engaging enough that they generated two sequel novels.

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