Combustible Celluloid
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With: Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell, Matt Gerald, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Marley Shelton, Xander Berkeley, Kenny Johnson, Joshua Close, Sharon Lawrence, Janine Turner, Luisa Moraes, Jordan Woods-Robinson, Niyi Oni
Written by: Sean Bailey, Ted Griffin
Directed by: Afonso Poyart
MPAA Rating: R for violence and bloody images throughout, sexuality, nudity and language
Running Time: 101
Date: 12/16/2016

Solace (2016)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Psychic Sidekick

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though this supernatural thriller has a decent idea and a great cast, Solace can't seem to transcend its crushingly rudimentary, mediocre screenwriting and filmmaking techniques. It seems to want to raise questions about the quality of life; if one were able to predict a long period of pointless suffering in a human life, would it be humane to end that life before the suffering began? But the discussion never probes very deep, partly because the question is non-realistic in nature.

Faced with an unsolvable series of murders, FBI Special Agent Joe Merriwether (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his partner Katherine Cowles's (Abbie Cornish), decide to call upon Joe's old friend and former colleague, Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), who has psychic powers. Clancy is reluctant to go back to work after the death of his daughter, but he nonetheless is immediately able to detect certain clues unseen by the FBI. They lead him to the potential killer, Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell), a man with even more powerful psychic abilities, who may be doing what he's doing for the right reasons. Will the good guys be able to stop him, and, more importantly, should they?

Hopkins seems content performing his character with his familiar, mesmerizing monotone, which, even though he's still great, will no doubt remind many viewers of Hannibal Lecter. The other actors, while trying their best, seem only to function as pawns of the plot, rather than as characters whose decisions drive the plot. The dumb action/chase scenes that eventually occur are only the final proof of Solace's vague, dissatisfying lethargy.

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