BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION: CHILD 44 (UPDATED 2)
The Soviet Union, times of Joseph Stalin and Andrei Chikatilo. Are you feeling scary? You must be, because of the novel Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. The story will put a lot of tension to your nerves.
The author Tom Rob Smith was 28 when he published the thriller. He needed two and a half years to write the story. It was his debut, but soon the awards started to fill up his trophy case. The novel was translated on 36 languages and won many awards. The readers love it and put a very strong 4.3 average rating from 860 plus reviews.
After several reprints the novel will boom once again, because of the film adaptation. The movie rights were brought a month after the book release. To gather some money from the producers it was announced that Ridley Scott will be the director. Actually, the creator of Gladiator called himself to the author. Scott pulled out as a director and right now is just a producer. With some mixture of events the initial movie rights holder Fox retreated from the project so now four companies are acting as producers.
Daniel Espinosa was the man in charge of the directing. The 38-year-old Sweden made a name with Safe House, and action thriller who cashed $208 million box office with $85 million budget. His next big project Child 44 put on table $50 million money to spend with some high quality cast as Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Vincent Cassel and Noomi Rapace. Richard Price was put in charge with script adaptation. His last big project was some scriptwriting in the TV series – The Wire.
The movie will make its debut on April 15 in Belgium in France. Two days later will be the USA premiere. The distribution will take place in 29 countries (Yeah, in Bulgaria as well!). The film missed out the festivals so still we don’t have much of a critical reviews, except for some media screenings.
Some interesting facts around Child 44; It was filmed in Prague, Kladno and Ostrava in Czech Republic. The running time is pretty long – 137 minutes. It’s interesting that in the film about Soviet Union there aren’t much of a Russian actors, not even one among the main characters. Interesting selection by the casting crew! I saw recently the trailer in the cinema and it was with pretty impressive cinematography so for sure it will be one of the my selections for the near future.
BIG UPDATE (17 April 2015): Child 44 was banned in Russia by the national ministry of culture.
Here is the official statement by the local distributor Central Partnership and Ministry of culture:
“The Russian ministry of culture received questions about the contents of the film, particularly the distortion of historical facts and the interpretation of events before, during and after the Great Patriotic War (World War II), as well as the character and spirit of Soviet citizens of this historical period. After this viewing, the opinion of the distributors and the ministry representatives coincided: it is unacceptable to show this kind of film on the eve of the 70th anniversary of victory.”
UPDATE 2 (24 April 2015):
Just came back from the movie projection. The film is very good. I really appreciate the entire story and it’s understandable why the Russians do not want to show it. It’s kind of political issue with the war in Ukraine right now.
If you are from USA, and you watched the movie, and you are wondering if the reality is like that, I may assure you that during those times this was very close to reality. I can say from my family experience.
Bulgaria was very close to Soviet Union after Second World War until the beginning of 90-s. The communists in my country followed the political terror by the big red sister with some light version of it. For example, the father of my mother had been killed as an enemy of the state at the beginning of 50-s.
Tom Hardy is acting brilliant and is giving everything to sound like Russian. I learned the language for seven years in my primary school and he pretty well (Let’s not forget that the movie is on English with Russian kind of pronunciation). I understand why there isn’t a single Russian actor in the main cast. Can’t imagine what would happen to them in their home country if they had agreed to play in the movie.
The good news is that the end is giving a hint for a sequel. The bad news is that the box office is huge disappointment after just $3 million ($50 million budget) in sales for the first week of distribution.
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