Saturday 19 July 2014

The Silence [2010]

The Silence is an assured and compelling crime drama from German filmmaker Baran bo Odar. Dark, grim and brooding, the film provided a discomfiting panoramic view of the varying, but permanent, effects of a gruesome crime on all those touched by it. It starts with a flashback sequence that immediately set the context for the rest of the film – the brutal rape and murder of Pia, a 13-year old girl, by a young man as his friend passively watches the crime from the car. Cut to present day, 23 years after the horrific event, as another 13-year old girl, Sinikka, goes missing and her bicycle is found at exactly the same spot, leading to speculations of murder and evocation of suppressed memories of the earlier crime. Thus begins a complex examination of all those connected with both the incidents – the guy who committed the crime 23 years back, his buddy who’s forever haunted by it even though he’s now leading a seemingly respectable life with his wife and kids, the retired detective who’d been assigned Pia’s murder and is obsessed with solving it, an emotionally vulnerable detective who’s investigating Sinikka’s disappearance, Pia’s distraught mother, Sinikka’s grief-stricken parents, the police bureau under sever public pressure to solve the mystery, and so forth. The plot might appear to be tad too complicated and labyrinthine, but the leisurely pacing ensured that sufficient time got invested on all the key characters and their shifting inter-personal dynamics, which ensured that it managed to be not just an engaging police procedural, but a gripping character study as well. The fine photography, low-key background score and excellent performances made this all the more attention-worthy.

Director: Baran bo Odar
Genre:  Drama/Crime Drama/Police Procedural/Ensemble Film
Language: German
Country: Germany

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