A talented cast assemble for Solace, one of those dark and plodding serial killer flicks that feels like it has come plodding out of 1995. And there's kind of a reason for why it feels so dated, but also why Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, Abbie Cornish, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan would be interested in it. The film does have a unique pedigree, beginning more than a decade ago as a planned sequel to David Fincher's Se7en. That obviously didn't come about and the film has been hacked up and reassembled into the dull, shock-free mess that it is now.
Directed by Afonso Poyart, the film isn't without a decent premise behind it. Basically it's a battle of psychic heavyweights, one a notorious serial killer and the who has come out of retirement to help the FBI in their investigation. Hopkins looks completely checked-out as John Clancy, who has hidden away from public life since his daughter's death. When determined agent and old friend Joe Merriweather (Morgan) and skeptical partner Katherine Knowles (Cornish) coming knocking in search of his help, Clancy is reluctant but gives in when he realizes what they are up against.
There's little excitement as they trod from crime scene to crime scene, stopping just long enough for the occasional dark flashback to blood-curdling screams, dead bodies, and other visions of supposedly creepy inanimate objects. This is one of those movies where everything is draped in shadow. Even the shadows have shadows. It makes for a gloomy atmosphere that wouldn't be so bad if things moved a bit faster, but this is a crime procedural that moves at the speed of an actual case.
The only respite is in counting the cliches ripped from other thrillers from the period, such as Silence of the Lambs, Kiss the Girls, and Se7en of course. Even the showdown between Hopkins and Farrell fails to deliver any sparks, mostly because both actors don't seem too invested. Only Morgan and Cornish bring their A-game to the table despite the obvious schlock in front of them. It only kept reminding me how much better Cornish is than this, and how Solace might have been a better movie if she were the psychic detective in charge. Unfortunately, that's not the story Solace wanted to tell, and the one they gave us probably should have stayed in development limbo.
Rating: 2 out of 5