Monday, 31 July 2017

Solace - 2015 film review

The script of Solace, a film first shown a couple of years back, apparently began life as a sequel to Se7en, one of the best serial killer movies, and certainly ground-breaking in 1995. Things changed radically along the way, and although director Afonso Poyart acknowledges the influence of the earlier film, and also of Silence of the Lambs, he claims that Solace is not a serial killer film, but aout much more than that, talking about life and death and raising "interesting moral dilemmas".

The film benefits from the casting of Anthony Clancy as John Hopkins, a psychic who works with the FBI, but whose daughter has died from leukaemia. A pair of cops played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Abbie Cornish persuade him, against his will, to lend a hand when a series of baflling yet apparently connected murders take place.

The link between the crimes emerges,and Colin Farrell comes into the story, playing Charles Ambrose, whose motives are central to the moral dilemmas Poyart mentions. Hopkins and Farrell are both excellent actors, whose work I've enjoyed numerous times, and here again they do a good job. But they are limited by the material in the script.

For all Poyart's laudable ambition, this seemed to me very much like one more in a long line of flashily put together serial killer movies, with Clancy's psychic gifts providing a distinctive but increasingly irritating gimmick. The story and the performances kept me watching, but the truth is that the serial killer genre has been with us for so long now that greater originality is required than is on offer here. And despite a final twist, it's not a patch on Se7en.

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