For history-lovers and libertarians I highly recommend the movie thriller Child 44 which opened worldwide this week. [Update: Apparently in the USA it is only in “limited” showing but hopefully will appear more widely later.] Putin banned it in Russia (and I wonder why!). It portrays the stark brutality and paranoia of the Soviet Union in the Stalin years without compromise.
I saw it only on a hunch that it might be good, because it was the cast that first caught my notice: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman. I was surprised and impressed with the film. The writing was very well done and showed the horror hell-house that was the USSR in 1953.
It is over two hours long, and it is an adaptation of a novel of that name by Tom Rob Smith, the first of his trilogy involving his fictional character, Leo Demidov, a former MGB agent and his wife, Raisa. The story is loosely based on the case of an actual Russian serial killer – in the “socialist paradise” where the very existence of crimes such as murder was declared to be “impossible” by state doctrine, and anyone suggesting otherwise could be committing a serious thought crime.
It is grisly, as was its era. Not a date flick.