Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Silence

Fine performances elevate this glum psychological crime drama.

March 7, 2013

-By Karsten Kastelan


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1372768-Silence_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Swiss-born director Baran bo Odar's second feature film, The Silence, is a finely crafted psychological drama that uses a brutal crime to delve into the depths of human misery, with box-office prospects looking as glum as its characters' outlook on life.

In the same spot where 23 years ago young Pia was brutally raped and murdered, another girl's bicycle is found. Its owner, 13-year-old Sinikka, is presumed to have met the same brutal fate. Although her body has not turned up yet, speculation about the culprit ensues among the people of a quiet German town: a retired cop who handled the first case, his successor, Sinikka's parents, Pia's mother and the first killer's former accomplice.

Under the hot summer sun, they all try to cope with their uncertainty, overwhelming emotions and a variety of skeletons in their respective closets, trying to keep the past at bay, the present bearable and their gloomy future from taking shape.

While the thriller elements of the unsolved crime will certainly be at the forefront of any publicity campaign, Odar does not show much interest in the whodunit, with a hooded murderer appearing occasionally in dreamlike sequences, but rarely in a way that makes us wonder who he or she is. Instead, he concentrates on his stellar ensemble, to great effect.

Ulrich Thomsen plays the former rapist with a chilling calm, while Wotan Wilke Mohring delivers an award-worthy performance as his former accomplice, who is also a pedophile but has chosen not to act on his affliction. Burghart Klaussner excels as an alcoholic detective unable to deal with retirement while Sebastian Blomberg plays a cop so saddened by his wife's recent death that he is barely able to function. All their characters are broken, beaten down and filled with an emptiness they cannot seem to shake, with the rapist's calm and naively sunny disposition being the notable exception.

Production values are of a high standard, starting with Nikolaus Summerer's excellent cinematography, which employs helicopter and crane shots of the beautiful landscape effectively, but also creates intimate, moody visuals fitting for the film's more personal moments. The score by Michael Kamm and Kris Steininger's band Pas de Deux tends to be headache-inducing, but this is clearly intended and fits the direction of the film.

Robert Rzesacz’s editing is fine, even though by the time we have finally reached the end of this 111-minute tour de force and find out that the question of who committed the crime is less important than the why, we might wish he would have spared us about half an hour.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: The Silence

Fine performances elevate this glum psychological crime drama.

March 7, 2013

-By Karsten Kastelan


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1372768-Silence_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Swiss-born director Baran bo Odar's second feature film, The Silence, is a finely crafted psychological drama that uses a brutal crime to delve into the depths of human misery, with box-office prospects looking as glum as its characters' outlook on life.

In the same spot where 23 years ago young Pia was brutally raped and murdered, another girl's bicycle is found. Its owner, 13-year-old Sinikka, is presumed to have met the same brutal fate. Although her body has not turned up yet, speculation about the culprit ensues among the people of a quiet German town: a retired cop who handled the first case, his successor, Sinikka's parents, Pia's mother and the first killer's former accomplice.

Under the hot summer sun, they all try to cope with their uncertainty, overwhelming emotions and a variety of skeletons in their respective closets, trying to keep the past at bay, the present bearable and their gloomy future from taking shape.

While the thriller elements of the unsolved crime will certainly be at the forefront of any publicity campaign, Odar does not show much interest in the whodunit, with a hooded murderer appearing occasionally in dreamlike sequences, but rarely in a way that makes us wonder who he or she is. Instead, he concentrates on his stellar ensemble, to great effect.

Ulrich Thomsen plays the former rapist with a chilling calm, while Wotan Wilke Mohring delivers an award-worthy performance as his former accomplice, who is also a pedophile but has chosen not to act on his affliction. Burghart Klaussner excels as an alcoholic detective unable to deal with retirement while Sebastian Blomberg plays a cop so saddened by his wife's recent death that he is barely able to function. All their characters are broken, beaten down and filled with an emptiness they cannot seem to shake, with the rapist's calm and naively sunny disposition being the notable exception.

Production values are of a high standard, starting with Nikolaus Summerer's excellent cinematography, which employs helicopter and crane shots of the beautiful landscape effectively, but also creates intimate, moody visuals fitting for the film's more personal moments. The score by Michael Kamm and Kris Steininger's band Pas de Deux tends to be headache-inducing, but this is clearly intended and fits the direction of the film.

Robert Rzesacz’s editing is fine, even though by the time we have finally reached the end of this 111-minute tour de force and find out that the question of who committed the crime is less important than the why, we might wish he would have spared us about half an hour.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Film Review: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Venture inside the hallowed hallways of Japan's most prestigious animation studio in this insightful documentary. More »

Antarctica: A  Year On Ice
Film Review: Antarctica: A Year on Ice

Thrilling, award-winning New Zealand doc about the mysterious and forbidding continent at the bottom of the world is not your usual travelogue, but a surprising exploration of the human soul and human needs. Happily, adorable penguins and stunning visuals also get screen time. More »

Remote Area Medical
Film Review: Remote Area Medical

Doc offers in-the-trenches evidence of dire need in the U.S. health-care system. More »

Immortalists
Film Review: The Immortalists

Attention-grabbing subject meets colorful characters in this science doc. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Penguins of Madagascar
Film Review: Penguins of Madagascar

Frenetic vehicle for supporting players from the Madagascar films will entertain kids but prove a little wearying for their parents. More »

imitation game
Film Review: The Imitation Game

Terrific biopic about world-class mathematician and social misfit Alan Turing, who, in spite of a painful struggle with his homosexuality, helped the Allies break the code of the Nazis' Enigma machine. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here