In 1932 Joseph Stalin artificially engineered a famine that killed (estimates differ) at least five million Ukrainians. Could have been as many as twelve million. This genocide was known as the Holodomor, and most Americans have never heard of it. But if you’re wondering why Ukrainians are less than pleased with murderous pigfucker Vladimir Putin’s illegal theft of the Crimea and continuing efforts to annex Ukraine, you need look no further for a reason for their hatred of all Russians.
This film follows in the wake of that monstrous crime. Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) was an orphan of the Holodomor. It’s now the early ‘50s and the Soviet Union is still staggering under the demented rule of Stalin, where the merest whisper could send anyone to the gulags or worse. He is now an officer in the MGB. He is reluctantly pulled into an investigation of the torture murder of a young boy. This is incredibly dangerous, as there is no murder in the Paradise of the Glorious Soviet Union. It begins to seem that a serial killer is at work …
That’s really enough of the plot. I never really bought that he and his wife, Noomi Rapace, would get so involved, obsessed, really, with tracking down the killer. They have another MGB officer who hates them, and succeeds in sending them into the asshole of the country, which has an enormous asshole. But it all turns as muddy as the final fight between Leo and the bad guy. Even worse was a tacked-on happy ending. There were no happy endings in Soviet Russia, except for the exploiting class.