"Child 44" has been 86'd in Russia.
Just a day before the Hollywood thriller about a Soviet policeman investigating a string of gruesome child murders was set to open, the Ministry of Culture in Moscow blocked the release of the film on Wednesday for its alleged "distortion of historic facts," according to the Associated Press.
Billed as a "politically charged serial killer thriller," "Child 44" is based on the novel by British author Tom Rob Smith and directed by Daniel Espinosa. It stars Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace.
Set in 1953, the movie tells the story of a disgraced MGB agent (Hardy) who is exiled to a grim provincial outpost where he teams with a local official (Oldman) to catch a murderer.
The culture ministry and the film's Russian distributor, Central Partnership, said in a joint statement that it would be "inadmissible" to release "Child 44" in the run-up to celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany.
Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky invoked another Hollywood film property, "The Lord of the Rings" franchise, in saying that "Child 44" portrays the Soviet Union as "a sort of Mordor, populated by physically and morally defective sub-humans, a bloodbath onscreen involving orcs and vampires."
The "Child 44" ban comes at a time when relations between Russia and the West are as frosty as they've been since the end of the Cold War, due in part to disagreement over the crisis in Ukraine.
"Child 44" opens Friday in the U.S.