Who’s “him” you ask? He is John Clancy, a one-time colleague of Merriweather’s who now, after personal tragedy, lives as a recluse in a barely furnished house in a remote rural area. John is played by Anthony Hopkins, and he’s a psychic. The kind that sees things … too many things … and he sees them when he touches a person. Hence, on putting his hand on Cowles’ shoulder, the viewer gets a flash-frame of Abbie Cornish with red blood seeming to flood from a spot above her forehead.
Something bad’s going to happen to her. Something bad’s going to happen to Merriweather too. Later on we learn that Clancy doesn’t just see the future, he sees a multiplicity of futures. This is where the visual overstuffing comes in; many scenes show a particular character multiplied into tens of selves, going different ways within different settings. I’m making it sound “neat,” but it actually plays as “possibly exhausting, in the event that you were interested, only because all the characters are so rote, you’re not.”
Afonso Poyart, in his English language directorial debut, tries his best to inject life into the film, but Solace comes across as pretentious. The first time Hopkins’ character’s powers portray a shocking vision of the future, it’s a potent blast of horror. Unfortunately, the film leans on that device far too often and it very quickly becomes tired. It’s a classic example of a film that thinks it’s cleverer than it is and inflicts its crushing stupidity and silliness on the audience.