Child 44

Author Tom Rob Smith's novel about a serial killer stalking boys in the Stalinist-era Soviet Union - where, for ideological reasons, such crimes could not be officially acknowledged to exist - has the makings of an intriguing film. Unfortunately, director Daniel Espinosa and screenwriter Richard Price get bogged down in details, subplots and stereotyped apparatchiks as their protagonist (Tom Hardy), a state security officer attempting to investigate the murders, faces exile for his efforts. He perseveres nonetheless, helped by a sympathetic general (Gary Oldman), but constantly harassed by a bureaucrat (Joel Kinnaman), who wants to keep the killings concealed.

Watch out for: Gun and physical violence, a fleeting scene of semi-graphic sexual activity, occasional profanity and rough language.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: R, restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015