Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Farrell, Abbie Cornish
Directed by Afonso Poyart
A new serial killer movie starring Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Farrell? I’m in! Arty style spattered in blood? Love it. And psychics working with the cops to catch a crafty killer… Where do I sign up?
Yep, Solace has all the stuff I love. But not all the stuff everybody loves. Some of the best, most tart pull quotes from its short run in Spain, France, and the U.K. – the movie isn’t out until the fall of 2016 here in the States – say stuff like, “Hopkins is in a scene-stealing groove, but Solace turns out to be an overcooked affair, fussily directed and far-fetched,” and “The director goes for sub-Fincher flash throughout, making the whole thing look like a slightly creepy commercial with pop-promo set dressing and risible VFX visualizations.” Too true. I agree. But you know what? I liked Solace anyway. For fans of Se7en, The Silence of the Lambs, or even the TV series “Medium” – it helps fill the void.
The story follows no-nonsense FBI agent Joe Merriwether Morgan) and his partner, Katherine Cowles (Cornish), a specialist in psychology. The pair track down Joe’s old friend, colleague, and retired lawman and doctor, John Clancy (Hopkins), because Clancy is their last and best hope in catching a canny killer. Of course, Clancy has “issues” and doesn’t want to un-retire, but he’s sufficiently intrigued and eventually joins the fray. Clancy’s best quality when it comes to investigative skills is that he is a bona fide psychic. He’s always right. Seriously: He makes “The Long Island Medium” look like Paris Hilton at her most clueless. But just because Clancy knows the hows and the whys, he doesn’t know who… and that is because the slayer is Clancy’s match and his worst nightmare.
I’ll avoid spouting spoilers, though honestly, if you’re paying even half-assed attention during the film, you will easily figure out each twist before the turn. For me, that was okay because I really liked the cast and the super-stylized look and feel of the film. There aren’t many horror movies that think outside the box – or even the found footage – when it comes to what we are seeing. But I will say I absolutely hated the music choices, especially the vocal songs. They were pretty annoying… then again, being made to feel uncomfortable while watching a genre film is ultimately a good thing. At least it’s memorable, right?
The screenplay suffers from too many fingerprints – over the course of the 15 years it took to get Solace made, there was input from Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven), Sean Bailey (“Enemies”), Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon), and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), with ultimate credit going to the first two scribes.
Overall, the cast and the look of the film win out for pure entertainment’s sake. Solace is glossy, gory fun while it lasts.
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