Director: Afonso Poyart
Writers: Sean Bailey & Ted Griffin
Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, Marley Shelton, Janine Turner, Xander Berkeley
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Originally conceived as a sequel to Se7en.
Se7en is one of the greatest films of all time. The fact that this film was originally going to be a sequel to that film makes this an intriguing watch. Solace is a serial killer movie with an all star cast and a psychic, John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), who is brought onto a case to help find said serial killer. He joins Agents Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish) and Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) reluctantly and helps them hunt down Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell). While initially intriguing due to it’s interesting link, you instantly realise it’s not. It’s just bad. You realise it was initially supposed to be a Se7en sequel because it’s from writers who are utterly amateur and the film feels like it’s almost fan-fiction. The film becomes something you want to see to find out what changed to a trainwreck you just can’t look away from. Solace is a complete cringe of a film. Every line of dialogue makes you cringe. All of Abbie Cornish’s attempts at acting make you cringe. All of it just made me cringe.
John Clancy can see the past or future in some form by touching the subject, be they person or prop. It’s annoying because it’s not just skin contact that does it, but you can touch him on his clothes’ sleeve and it will still cause a psychic vision. That I can overlook though. The film uses these visions to scare us about the leads who we should be rooting for. Joe and Katherine both touch him and we see a vision of bad things. These things Clancy does not reveal to them. Maybe I’d feel something if I cared for the characters. Some of the visions are admittedly quite creepy, like the very first one, and sometimes they can be quite stylishly executed when they are the longer, more investigative kind, but they can be quite poorly done as well. Sometimes the editing can be quite cheesy and sometimes imagery attempts to be abstract and almost like illusions which just comes across as pretentious and stupid. Surprisingly though, I found the film to hit with the visions more than miss. They were about the only good parts of this entire film.
The film is so boringly over-serious with a dark monotony that tries to create a gritty tone but just brings it down to unrealism. Saying that, the film does attempt to pepper the film with comedy but it feels so forced and is so cringeworthy (there it is again) that you’d wish it just got back to the boring monotony. The film just has two states: boring and forced. Every line of dialogue feels like a line on a script that was made up by two young, first time writers, which is ridiculous because one of them is a co-writer for both Ocean’s Eleven and Matchstick Men. The awful script combined with the awful direction left this film with nothing to save it. The camera work in this film can be unbearable with a slight shakiness to some of the mid-shots and close-ups that just grated on me over time and I just wanted them to use a damn tri-pod. There’s also the irritating circle shots as the camera zooms around the characters at a table to try and make it less boring. It just becomes far too distracting. The same can be said with the dreadful editing that just started to hurt my eyes in the “action” sequences.
The film’s plot is absolutely ridiculous. None of it really makes sense and just wants you to follow it blindly, without actually thinking. It’s a complete mess that is so uninteresting or compelling that you just want it to cut the crap and get to the end to see if that has anything to redeem it. The performances in the film also fail massively. Abbie Cornish is just talking really slowly and really seriously and it’s horrendous. You can also tell she’s actually trying because there was a scene that was her “special scene” where she gets to be emotional and let go. She displays her poor talents there as well as it’s not only bad acting but completely disjointed to the style of acting she’s been giving us outside of that scene. She’s just there to wear very tight shirts. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Anthony Hopkins aren’t much better either but at least give us something. Jeffrey Dean Morgan acts with the care-free style where you can see he knows he’s in a bad film and Anthony Hopkins phones it in completely but at least has some natural hammy-ness to make him a little more interesting.
That brings us to Colin Farrell. He’s the illusive serial killer you don’t see until the end of the film, much like Kevin Spacey in Se7en, only… shit. He’s hilariously overacting but in a confusingly poor way. He does not feel like an actor who has acted in anything before. He’s just bad. He actually seems like he’s trying which, for his sake, I hope is not the case. I also found the artist’s sketch of him from a witness hilariously real. He even draws in the scar perfectly when she only told him he has “a scar”. It’s just unbelievably stupid. That’s all I can really say about this film. It’s stupid that it even got made and it’s extremely stupid that these talented actors (minus Abbie Cornish) agreed to star in this disaster of a film.
Summary: Solace is an amateurish mess with the utterly irredeemable trifecta of awful acting, awful writing and awful direction. The film has interesting horror aspects but that’s far too small to make this film worthwhile in any way. It’s disjointed, stupid and excruciatingly irritating.
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%