Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Solace (3 Stars)


A serial killer is murdering people by a single stab wound in the back of the neck. It's an immediate, painless death. The head of the FBI calls in the retired psychic investigator, Dr. John Clancy, played by Anthony Hopkins. Usually Dr. Clancy is successful, having psychic flashes that show him where the killer is, and, more importantly, when he will strike next, but he soon realises that he's met his match. The killer is a clairvoyant who can see the future.

The film has some very good ideas, but it doesn't deliver. The psychic flashes, often gruesome, sometimes random images like neon crosses, are more akin to the jumps that are common in horror films. The imagery doesn't fit well in a detective film, even if it's a supernatural detective film. There's a sub-plot about the killer being a benevolent mercy killer, who only kills those who have terminal illnesses that would cause them great suffering. Rather than weighing the pros and cons of euthanasia, which would have given the film more moral weight, Dr. Clancy just dismisses it. "I don't care why you're killing people. Murder is wrong".

The best thing about the film is Colin Farrell's excellent performance as the killer. It's a pity that he doesn't appear until the last half hour of the film. Anthony Hopkins is superb, as always, but not even his skill can overcome the film's weaknesses.

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