The Silence

| March 7, 2013

Whether you find it a psychological drama, crime thriller, or meditation on the anti-social among us, The Silence is bound to stay in your thoughts for some time. It’s another Swedish import which is almost impossible to pull yourself away from once you start watching. If you’ve enjoyed any of the other, similar types of films and series and books from that part of the world – Wallander, The Killing, The Bridge – you will be fascinated by The Silence.

Helmed by Swiss director Baran bo Odar, this is his first feature film and it is a finely crafted drama using a brutal crime to investigate the myriad forms of human misery. His earlier work was the critically acclaimed short, Under The Sun. And even though the film is to a certain extent focused on police procedure and the hunting of a pair of killers, the director’s real interest here seems to lie in the after effects of a horrible human tragedy and all of the corrosive, never-ending feelings of those who knew the victims both intimately and remotely. Grief is one of the most powerful of human emotions, and Baran bo Odar explores this sensation with unparalleled enthusiasm.

The Silence begins 23 years ago on a hot summer day, when a young girl named Pia is brutally murdered in a field of wheat.  Now, on the exact same date in the present, 13-year-old Sinikka is missing, her bicycle abandoned in the same spot.  As Krischan, the retired investigator of the unresolved case, and his younger colleague David struggle to solve the mystery of these parallel crimes, Sinikka’s distraught parents are trapped in an agonizing period of waiting and uncertainty.  Meanwhile, their daughter’s fate rips open old wounds in the heart of Pia’s mother, who is visited by an unexpected guest with an eerie connection to her daughter.  The unrelenting summer heat lies over the quaint family homes like a bell jar and behind closed doors, worlds begin to fall apart.

Gripping performances by top European actors – headed by Ulrich Thomsen (Cinemax’s Banshee, In a Better World, Fear Me Not, The Celebration), Sebastian Blomberg (The Baader Meinhof Complex), Katrin Sass (Good Bye, Lenin!) and Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon, The Edukators) – enrich this intense drama far beyond the crime genre.

This is a truly gripping motion picture and should not be missed. The Silence opens in theaters March 8, 2013.

About the Author:

Del Harvey is a co-founder of Film Monthly. He is an independent filmmaker, film director, screenwriter, and film teacher, currently living in Chicago.
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