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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Silence Movie Review

If "The Silence", Baran bo Odar's feature-length debut is an accurate indicator of what is to come, he is a filmmaker worth keeping an eye on. He has definite skills, including an ability to slow-burn tension worthy of a veteran's hand. The German film made me remember the first time I saw the "The Vanishing", not as far as content, but rather in the way it simmered, keeping the viewer on edge with anticipation of where we were being taken.

The story centers around a small town where a local young girl has disappeared. Besides the obvious tension one might expect from a story such as this, it is multiplied many-fold by the fact that another young girl was killed in the exact same spot of a field 23 years earlier, to the day. That first crime was never solved and now the police are forced to face up to that fact as well as having to try and solve this latest mystery. The even larger tension accumulator is in the re-opening of the wounds of those affected by the first incident.

Odar shows us right away who committed the first crime, but the connection to the second crime, if there is one, is what drives the plot and creepiness. The other factor that causes the audience to cringe in confusion and anticipation is the bizarreness of some of its characters. Of course there is the murderer from 23 years ago, but the innocent accomplice adds many layers of discomfort as Odar slowly reveals his character.

Everyone gives restrained and uncomfortable performances except for one of the detectives, who is a bit over-the-top for my tastes. However, that is the only negative that I can come up with in my appraisal of "The Silence". Because it is a non-American film, there is no pat resolution at the end. If it gets re-made in America, no doubt that will no longer be the case, much like when "The Vanishing" was re-made with Jeff Bridges in the lead. See this version before the silence is pithed out of the remake.

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