Solace  (2016)

Director: Afonso Poyart
Starring:Abbie Cornish,Jeffrey Dean Morgan,Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins,Marley Shelton, Kenny Johnson  USA. 1h 41m.

Solace appears to be one of the modern thrillers speeding in on the heels of the Se7en (1995) phenomenon, a group of mismatched detectives with the addition of an aged psychic are on the trail of a serial killer whose victims seem to have nothing obvious in common. Merriweather (Morgan) plays an fairly unconvincing and over friendly detective who has loosely tied together a handful of homicides together, along with his feisty sidekick Katherine Cowles (Cornis) who aims to build a psychological profile for this person but is struggling and thus causing an age of an old friend as psychic John Clancy played by the brilliant Anthony Hopkins who reluctantly aides them in their task. It’s a mish mash of mediocre thriller and cop drama cliches with some adaptive CGI from new director Afonso Poyart.

The film opens with FBI agents Merriweather and Cowles entering a crime scene where the victim is poised in a life like position, apparently killed by  pain-free spiking to the medulla oblongata, we later learn that this is the third of its kind. Nothing connects the victims and the puzzled agents are left confused until Merriweather announces “I have to see him” and departs to find an old friend. Strangely the movie until this point is frequently raining, not that it rains that much in Georgia but the reason for this is down to the movies original script which lined this up as a sequel to Se7en (1995).

“Him” is John Clancy, a one time partner of Merriweather who after a personal tragedy now lives as a recluse, he’s a powerful psychic who sees future and past events when he touches something or someone, he instantly picks up on Clowes with blood streaming down her face and soon is alerted to Merriweather in a foul state in hospital so something is going to happen to both of them, but when and how!?

Hopkins is also the executive producer of this slightly dry film and he is the better written and acted character, but it’s a role which is not totally unfamiliar with, an amalgamation of Hannibal Lecter, Charles Morse and Frederick Treves, hopkins doesn’t really need to try among his supporting cast, he’s just generally brilliant, but the acting isn’t the worst aspect, once the initial formula is laid out the film villain is  introduced everything unravels and after such a brilliant build up, makes it a crying shame.

Clowes is highly skeptic and tries to catch Clancy out, after allowing him to antagonise her for some time he makes his excuses to leave the case, he’s figured out what’s going to happen and believes his departure is to the  agents benefit, but she pressures him to stay so he rips a piece of her but they both rise above it and work together.

Eventually the killer is revealed and the connection that ties the victims together is revealed and the film turns into battle of the psychics, and falters slightly. The cerebral change encourages the director to employ lots of red herrings, and a truck load of CGI to play out possible outcomes, almost like that scene in Princes Bride with the poisoned cups, both people trying to pre empt just how far ahead the other had planned.

It’s bright and ingenious and for most part it was fun to watch, but watching Colin Farrell try and act more intelligent than Anthony Hopkins just didn’t feel right and on top of this is lacked the atmosphere of Se7en, it lacks any atmosphere really.. Sadly what starts out as a interesting thriller just gets sillier and becomes a tedious disaster by the end.

Rating 4/10

R: Se7en (1995), Anomorph (2007), Death Note (2006), The Psychic (1977)
L: Psychic Detectives, Psychic Killers,

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