Child 44

(Image credit: E1 Entertainment)

A grim serial killer thriller set in Stalin's Soviet Union starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace

Tom Hardy's tenacious secret policeman hunts for a child murderer amid the paranoia and terror of Stalin's Soviet Union in this adaptation of Tom Rob Smith's bestselling novel.

Get past some contrived plotting - and the needlessly thick Russian accents adopted by the mostly British cast - and this 1950s-set crime thriller is grimly fascinating. Hardy's officer, Leo Demidov, winds up in exile after refusing to denounce his wife (The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo's Noomi Rapace), yet doggedly persists in his pursuit of a serial killer of young boys - an extremely perilous business in a state that denies the very existence of murder, a supposedly 'capitalist disease'.

Viewed as a police procedural, Safe House director Daniel Espinosa's film is undeniably sluggish; yet as a portrait of a society warped by fear and ideology, Child 44 is genuinely compelling. Hardy is excellent, too.