Solace follows two FBI agents who employ an old, tortured psychic (Anthony Hopkins) to catch a serial killer (Colin Farrell) whose m.o. seems to be preemptive mercy killing. As they get closer to the killer, it becomes clear that he is more than simply one step ahead of them, and his motivations go beyond his murders.
Psychological thrillers with a scifi/supernatural twist have always been a pleasure of mine, but unfortunately outside of Fallen, most of them are guilty pleasures. They tend to have an inordinate amount of plot holes and lack the structure and pacing to make them great. Solace has more flaws than standout moments, but I still found myself quite entertained by it.
Anthony Hopkins is a rare breed of actor that can steal a scene with minimal effort. Sometimes I feel like he's not even trying, but I'm still enthralled with his nuance. I can't say the same for the rest of the cast. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays one of the FBI agents, and Colin Farrell are hit or miss in many of their films. They are more dependent on script and directing. Morgan unfortunately lacks the edge he bestows in other roles, but Farrell manages to steal a handful of scenes for himself.
The storytelling and progression is rough around the edges and steps along at an uneven pace that makes some otherwise serious, somber or intense moments less impactful or even silly. We get little time to breathe and experience certain moments, which is painful to the story as a whole. Yet, it trades this wafting pace for some purely genius exchanges, interesting ideas and unique cinematography. It balances in such a way that I'm distracted but not removed from the film.
The eerie dream sequences and glimpses into Hopkins' psychic abilities offer a tinge of horror in an otherwise standard criminal thriller. They aren't prominent enough to bridge the two genres, but it was powerful enough to be off-putting to someone looking for a muted Se7en.
You can tell by its treatment the end result of this film isn't held in high regard by its studio and was ceremoniously trafficked through routes to make back production budgets by penny pinching distribution and marketing. Sometimes gems sneak through this method, but in general it is a red flag to what you can expect from the film. And it is what it is. A conventional psychological thriller with a somewhat unique premise that has enough star power to deserve a viewing. Doesn't mean I can't enjoy it.
Horror Qualifier: 5/10
Horror Quality: 3/10
Film Quality: 5/10