A remarkable thriller with subtle performances and gorgeous cinematography that add to the bubbling aftermath of the crime. It may be bleak and not perfect storytelling but it’s without doubt a great examination of grief and guilt.
This German movie directed by Baran bo Odar opens with the rape and murder of an 11 year old girl and what follows is another killing 23 years later with exactly the same circumstances. The plot follows a recently widowed policeman, another police detective who’s just retired and was on the case of the first missing girl, we also see interweaving stories the lady whose daughter was killed in 1986, the parents of the most recent case and a gentleman living with his wife and two children.
The film’s good to begin with, in the way that it locks together differing characters as their motivations let them cross paths with one another, the more black element of it all is in the mother and father mentioning their girl at a party and how the dad says at 11 years old she’s basically a pain, across from the mother of Pia who was also 11 when she was killed 23 years previously. It features like some punishment for his words that their daughter goes missing. Also the hamster death is a strange little symbolism device I feel was used just to mirror the fact Sinikka’s body was about to be officially declared as found. ‘The Silence’ is a simple title for the film and I can only gauge fitting it in with the silence and brooding thoughts of certain characters, that and the 23 year long silence between the opening pair of peadophiles. This film resembles mysterious and dark characteristics of shows like ‘The Killing’ and ‘Broadchurch’ in it’s study of people and the consequences affecting them.
The better performance comes from the mother of the first murdered girl who doesn’t say much but shows a deep level of sadness and loss through her eyes. The fact she can’t even answer why she still lives in the same house speaks volumes for the weird rut of pain she’s stuck in and now she’s living it all again through someone else’s loss. The arrival of the policeman David Jahn is also a fine display of acting as he stands as the root for the story trying to uncover the killer or killers and near the end he’s the only one who knows the truth of the case and it’s frustrating to watch as his theory is shoved aside just because the boss has already made a press conference. It’s also interesting to follow now and then the killer and see the grounded performance making it even more worrying and sick, especially as we’re feeded flashbacks of them sitting watching children play or watching recordings of child rape. It’s a depressing and disturbing film which unfortunately boils down to a mere simmer by the ending as you realise the story isn’t that fantastic.
It’s a weird reasoning for the recent murder and the friendship is quick and odd between the introduced killers and after thinking this film may have another secret to unravel, possibly it being a killer we wouldn’t expect it ends up being the ones you saw all along, so there’s no payoff and the motivation is boring if anything. Aside from the character studies of grief, anger etc there’s not much else in the way of story. The cinematography and score help make the film feel tense and a neat little dream sequence of Jahn’s looks stunning and feels wholly nightmarish but you don’t feel as much sympathy for the recently bereaved parents and after a while all the characters stories feel like a melee as they’re stretched out which I guess is the reason for the story feeling a little thin.
A very bleak film that sounds and looks both chilling and precise but falls apart slowly as too many characters are focused on and the ultimate ending is unrewarding.