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Sunday, 1 April 2018

Movie Review: Solace (2015)

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $22 million

Plot: A psychic works with the FBI, in order to hunt down a serial killer

'Scant Solace For What Is a Mind-Numbing B-Movie Bore'

The script for Solace originated back in the early 2000s as a direct sequel to David Fincher's Se7en, but the film spent a long time in development throughout that decade, courtesy of Ted Griffin (Ocean's Eleven), & has been edited and re-written several times. Turns out the film is so farfetched, not even the efforts of the main cast could salvage it. 

FBI agents Joe and Katherine are investigating a string of murders & are on the hunt for the perpetrator, but they are left stumped by the killer's bizarre method of killing his victims, painlessly. Joe enlists his friend, a retired doctor, John for his help. As they inch closer to the killer, it becomes clearer the main bad guy is none other than the one played by Colin Farrell - who doesn't appear until the very end of the film, & by then it was too little, too late, as he had no positive effect on it.

Solace has a decent cast in Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Colin Farrell, but the script, which they were given, just didn't do their talents any justice, whatsoever and as for the music, some of it was bad. Being a B-movie, straight- to -DVD flick sadly, however, all the tension, mystery, elements one comes to expect in a psychological movie, just didn't transpire. I've seen this several times now - decent names on the bill for a B-movie, but the final product doesn't live up to its billing. In fact, it was utterly subdued, lacking in genuine thrills and so weary it was, to be candid, tedious to the core. 

As the story unravels, it all goes to hell, spiralling downhill and thus never recovers, the story & the tension is bereft and Solace's below mediocre and ponderous script wastes Hopkins, Morgan's and Cornish's talents. The editing looks cheap and low grade and I'm not liking how it looks (the image of the bullet flying into Colin Farrell was overdone), & the music is dire. Solace looks and has the feel and makings of a straight-to-DVD product, with a premise that was tossed aside by Hollywood movie execs. In 2013, Solace was in the hands of Warner Bros. After completion of the film, Warner did nothing with it and it was only until 2015 that Solace got its feet off the ground in the UK. 

Anthony Hopkins's John has virtually no onscreen camaraderie with Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Joe - actually, none of the cast, the main players and otherwise gel well together, although individual performances wise, they were okay. But it was sorely obvious that with Hopkins and Dean Morgan especially, they have delivered better, elsewhere, and with far better material. After the main character is killed off, their demise is poorly explained & handled, that their death doesn't make a lot of sense. The confrontation between Hopkins and Colin Farrell also fails to light up the screen. 

Dubbed a mystery thriller, there is also the odd chase sequence with Hopkins and Cornish going after a Yellow taxi, but despite that, Solace is utterly tepid and drab with the story that fails to convince; with screenwriters who penned Amazing Spider-Man, Frost/Nixon and The Shield at the helm, Solace is miraculously rife with lack of ingenuity, believability in the story and the performances, along with the lacklustre, flat & non-creative script and approach that is of non-commercial fare. Given this is a direct to DVD film, all attempts at creating and carving out real tension, suspense and genuine feelings of horror & shock, which are some of the traits for a psychological crime thriller, go astray. 

Brazillian director Afonso Poyart's previous efforts were one short and one feature: both in Portuguese, but with this first English-based offering, he has delivered what is a stinker and a tame one also. 

Not only is this one of the poorest crime thrillers I have come across and have reviewed, compared to the likes of say, 1995's Copycat & 2015's Secret In Their Eyes, Solace just didn't have enough quality in the performances & screenplay to help the film sail by. 

Final Verdict:

Yet another direct-to-DVD offering and more proof that a good roster of acting talent are laboured with such middling material, coupled with a one-note and lifeless direction. At almost 2 hours long, it turns out Solace is all by means a solemn & vapid affair that is not recommended. 


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