Psychic John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins) used to work for the FBI a lot, but he hasn’t done so in years. But then Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who used to work closely with John, and his partner Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish), who is more the sceptic about John’s abilities, knock on his door: a serial killer has been evading them and they need his help. John agrees and soon realizes that the killer can also see into the future – and much better than John himself.
I feel like Solace is one of the stupidest films I have seen in a long while. The script is atrocious, the cast is squandered, the story doesn’t make any sense and the entire thing is only bearable if you have alcohol.
Solace is a film that takes itself seriously (which is a shame, really). What it wants you to think that it’s not just a run of the mill thriller, but that there’s an underlying philosophical question to ponder: it turns out that Ambrose (Colin Farrell) is killing people who are about to die painfully from some illness or another. As he divulges his motive to John, the entire thing starts to feel like an earnest discussion of middle schoolers in an ethics class that entirely misses the point: all those people Ambrose killed to spare them suffering? It should have been their fucking decision whether they wanted to die or not. If it had been really about the philosophical issue, Ambrose should have had a sit-down with each and every one of them (and in the case of the kid he kills, with the parents as well) and tell them: “look, I’m psychic, I know you’re going to die in the next few months and it will be horrible. If you want to, I can kill you quick and painlessly.” Then, if they agree to this deal (and maybe get a chance to prepare their things and say goodbye) and Ambrose kills them and gets branded a serial killer for that, then we have an actual conundrum on our hands. Was he right to respect their wishes or was he wrong to kill? Does a person’s right to determine what happens with their body extend to deciding when, how and by whose hand to die? As presented there is no doubt about the morality here. Let Jake Peralta say it for me:
But that short(ish) paragraph? That is probably more than the people involved in the film ever thought about it in the first place. The movie slides from stupid to ridiculous and back again. And then it starts all over, all with some of the worst dialogues I ever had the joy to hear. I drank until I had no alcohol left and I would have still liked more.
I admit that I went mostly for Colin Farrell’s sake, who is not only pretty but a very decent actor when he actually gets the chance to act. So you can imagine my disappointment when he had about 10 minutes screentime. But considering the overall quality of the film, it’s probably for his own good. Abbie Cornish wasn’t so lucky, unfortunately, and it’s bad. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Anthony Hopkins are hit and miss actors anyway and they have missed widely here.
There were moments when the movie became so patently ridiculous, it was funny (for example the, as puzzledpeaces called it, psychic GPS) but if you expect a film you can laugh lots about, Solace isn’t it. It’s much too trite. But it is pretty good to get drunk too. And that’s probably the only compliment I can ever give it.