|'Cornish channels Jodie Foster to effective, if obvious ends, but the relationship between her and Hopkins never hums with the same impact of Clarice and Hannibal.'|
As paranormally inclined Cop Thrillers go, Solace occupies a position somewhere south of the recent Deliver Us From Evil. The ingredients are here to make something at least watchable, but there's a sterling lack of conviction from all sides which means that Afonso Poyart's film is heading quickly and directly to both bargain bins and the more obscure reaches of VOD.
The acting and plotting choices seal the film's fate from early on. Anthony Hopkins can do this sort of Silence Of The Lambs-referencing psycho-babble in his sleep, something which Poyart allows him to do. Meanwhile, the director can't decide if Abbie Cornish's agent is merely support to Jeffrey Dean Morgan's superior, or if her anxieties are what really informs the film. Whilst that balancing act is being failed, Poyart somehow seems to forget to introduce his villain, who stays largely off screen until the final act. You could call this a brave move if you were feeling generous, but the actor involved is somewhere around A-list and his charisma would have delivered some of the life that the film sorely needs.
Instead, we get flashes of brilliance from some of the players, coupled with several half-finished plot threads and referenced themes. There's a biblical heart to Solace at times, emphasised with some very obvious imagery during the finale, but the lore is never established; it just 'is' that Hopkins and his psychic adversary have the powers granted to them. Cornish channels Jodie Foster to effective, if obvious ends, but the relationship between her and Hopkins never hums with the same impact of Clarice and Hannibal. Hopkins is occasionally good, such as in a scene with Mrs Ellis (Sharon Lawrence) where he not only shuts everyone on screen up but manages to stop Poyart's preternaturally moving camera whilst he's at it.
Underpinning the whole thing is a thematic plot thread around the idea of euthanasia, which could get the debating juices going if, again, it was delivered with any commitment. As it is, it feels like a MacGuffin; the villain needs a reason to kill and so he has one, screw the thematic resonances which are potentially there to be taken advantage of. It's weak stuff, livened only occasionally by Hopkins, whom you wish was spending his senior acting years doing something much more noticeable.