It’s not so long ago that Leo Demidov ( Tom Hardy ) was the favorite of the Russians, his face emblazoned on the photo of the liberation of Berlin, the Second World War was finally over. In 1953 relatively little was left of the glamor and euphoria, living conditions under Stalin were harsh, and there was collective distrust among the population. Leo, who is now on the road as a military policeman, also has to suffer from arbitrariness. On orders from above, he is not allowed to investigate the murder of the son of his colleague Alexei Andreyev ( Fares Fares ). When he also refuses to let his wife Raisa ( Noomi Rapace) who is said to be involved in a conspiracy, he is transferred to the province as a punitive measure. But the murderer seems to be up to mischief there too, and Leo manages to convince his new boss Nesterov ( Gary Oldman ) to investigate the matter secretly.
When actors in Child 44 take on a different nationality, the result is sometimes curious, but most of the time it is a major problem. However, when all the characters in a film set in Russia are played by well-known British and Scandinavians, you prick up your ears. The reason for this cast should be clear to anyone who is Child 44 has seen because here no good hair is left to Mother Russia. In the beginning, it’s okay, director Daniel Espinosa captures the atmosphere of a paranoid society nicely. And even if the attitude of the Russian leadership to the case presented in the film – it’s not murder, because there can be no murder in paradise – sounds pretty absurd, it at least lays the foundation for an exciting hunt for a murderer off the beaten track.