Long-gestating 'Solace' delivers some old-school serial killer flair

Long-gestating 'Solace' delivers some old-school serial killer flair

Noel Murray

The serial killer thriller “Solace” was stuck in development limbo for over a decade — so long that at one point its story was pitched as a possible sequel to “Se7en.” The movie feels like a leftover from an earlier era, when cops chased mad geniuses across multiplex screens seemingly every weekend. But as leftovers go, “Solace” retains a fair amount of flavor, thanks to high-end ingredients.

Anthony Hopkins, who helped popularize this genre with his Oscar-winning turn in “Silence of the Lambs,” plays John Clancy, a world-weary clairvoyant called on by an old cop buddy (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to help with a tough case. Colin Farrell plays Charles Ambrose, the villain of the piece, who pops up halfway through the picture as a psychic murderer who targets the terminally ill.

Much of “Solace” consists of standard shoe-leather investigation, dressed up with the gothic detail common to these kinds of movies and TV shows: the elaborately gory crime-scenes, the poetic clues and the philosophical conversations about life and death. Director Afonso Poyart squeezes some visual flair out of Clancy and Ambrose’s shared gift, using montages and special effects to show them imagining the possible futures of everyone they meet.

The plot of “Solace” is ultimately too generic — and too silly — to take seriously, which is probably why the film’s taken so long to come out. But it has style, and throwback appeal. Most important, it has Hopkins and Farrell, bringing a touch of class to a familiar game of cat and mouse.

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