Why “Good Enough” Usually Isn’t: Our Review of ‘Solace’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - December 27, 2016
Why “Good Enough” Usually Isn’t: Our Review of ‘Solace’

It’s now the world we live in where simply not every movie worth your attention is going to be coming via your local multiplex that just doesn’t happen anymore as you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled on as many avenues that you possibly can.  While Solace was very obviously lifted from the 90’s thriller/serial killer playbook it had all the right elements to make for an incredibly effective ride, except for the fact that some very sloppy direction and over stylization nearly sinks the entire damn thing.

FBI Special Agent Joe Merriwether (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is at his wits end and is simply unable to solve a series of homicides that have been baffling the bureau.  With no other alternatives he decides to enlist the help of his former colleague and friend Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), a retired physician with psychic powers. However, Clancy is reclusive and with good reason since he shuttered his practice and retreated from the world following the death of his daughter and subsequent break-up of his marriage.  The last thing he wants is to be involved with this case.  He quickly has a change of heart after seeing disturbingly violent visions of Joe’s partner, FBI Special Agent Katherine Cowles’s (Abbie Cornish) ultimate demise. When Clancy’s exceptional intuitive powers put him on the trail of a suspect, Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell), the doctor soon realizes his abilities are no match against the extraordinary powers of this murderer on a mission whose just as good if not better at seeing into the minds of those around him as the good doctor is.

The pessimist in me wants to call this a rejected David Fincher script from the mid-1990’s and while that doesn’t necessarily mean that Solace is a bad film, it’s one that deserved better then it got.

Making his English language debut, Afonso Poyart knows all the beats to hit but litters the screen with some sloppy decision making and the use of some visuals that just are too on the nose lacking any kind of genuine subtly that is necessary in a movie like this.  While we are engaged in the narrative he is trying far too hard to mimic the styles of others in a genre such as this rather then defining any kind of genuine style for himself and it comes across like a man desperately out of his element.  It all plays like a script that was sitting around for years and while it was solidly written you can’t help but shake the feeling that there was just no sense of visual background or sense as it felt like it was directed by a man who had only ever seen films made between 1995 and 2005, and since this is 2016 you can see the problems that this presents.  The script from writers from Sean Bailey and Ted Griffin is solid but without any genuine flair to give the proceedings more pep then they have.  Much of this film really feels like everyone involved just settled for “good enough” and not beyond that.

Sir Anthony Hopkins (who also served as an executive producer here) actually feels more engaged with this role then he has in years.  Everything that is happening doesn’t make sense 100% of the time but he sells it well enough to make us feel invested in the process. Colin Farrell on the other side of the coin couldn’t have worked more then 2-3 days on this project but it was obviously he was having fun opposite Hopkins.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Abbie Cornish round out a solid B grade ensemble well enough and commit to the action but there was always something missing.

Ultimately, Solace feels like it left a little bit on the table or just ran out of money at some stage late in production.  It’s not a wasted effort by any stretch but it could have been so much more.

Solace is available on all major VOD platforms now.

This post was written by
David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.