Clichéd crime thriller with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell
Solace seems a bit dusty, like it's been sat on a shelf for a decade or so, but there’s a good reason for that. A spec script, originally passed about in 2002 and at one point mooted as a sequel to Se7en, has been doing the rounds for a while now and, though it has apparently gone through considerable changes over the years, some of its concerns still feel rooted in the past. Yet one theme that the film explores is actually a hot topic at present, with California recently progressing an assisted suicide bill and the UK overwhelmingly rejecting one, which is perhaps the reason why Solace is finally seeing the light of day.
When all leads run dry on a serial killer case, Agent Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) calls in old friend and psychic Dr John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins) to help in the investigation. Clancy joins forces with Merriweather's psychology specialist partner Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish) to find the person responsible for the murders – committed by puncture-wound to the neck – who happens to be a psychic too.
Director Afonso Poyart guides the viewer through elaborate and oddly serene crime scenes, with Clancy randomly touching stuff and dropping unsubtle hints. In addition, a crudely mishandled moment early on, involving HIV, may make you wince with embarrassment. And, though it's clearly aiming for poignancy through the developing relationship between Clancy and Cowles, their dynamic feels flat and lifeless.
The screenplay, from Sean Bailey and Ted Griffin, has some fun with the fact that Hopkins is now the good guy on the hunt for a serial killer, given his iconic role as Dr Hannibal Lecter. Solace is mildly entertaining in bursts, especially towards the end when Colin Farrell eventually appears, but clichés thwart it for the most part and the final twist can be seen coming from a mile off.
General release from Fri 25 Sep.