It’s not often that you come across films that leave you thinking about them for endless hours afterwards – but The Silence is one of them. Going far beyond The Killing-esque murder mystery that the synopsis promises it to be, Baran bo Odar’s gripping police-procedural thriller from Germany is so dark that it still causes us to shudder when we think about it, days after our premiere screening.
Adapted from the Jan Costin Wagner novel Silence, the film proceeds on a hot summer day when an 11-year-old girl named Pia is raped and murdered in a field. 23 years later another girl, 13-year-old Sinikka, goes missing and her bicycle is found abandoned in the same spot, which leads the police to believe that the killer has returned all these years later. With the help of Krischan Mittich (Burghart Klaußner), a retired investigator who worked on the first case, detectives David (Sebastian Blomberg) and Jana (Jule Böwe) struggle to find the girl and solve the crime. The film also stars Wotan Wilke Möhring as Timo Friedrich and Ulrich Thomsen as Peer Sommer.
A feature debut for Swiss-born film-maker Baran bo Odar, horror fans, fans of The Killing and indeed everyone everywhere should endeavour to watch this film. Not to be entered into light-heartedly, The Silence’s incredibly talented cast and fantastic cinematography (including some very impressive aerial shots) help bring to life a plot that is so incredibly dark that we were physically wincing and almost had to look away at several points.
Whilst the plot is deeply disturbing, it is Odar’s ability to submerge the audience into a chilling and oppressive atmosphere that allows The Silence to pack that all-important extra punch, leaving viewers feeling as damaged as the characters it focuses on. This is not a film that needs to rely on dialogue to get its point across.
One of the most compelling performances is that of Elena Lange (Katrin Sass), the first girl’s mother. Her character allows for an extra layer of consideration and gives the viewer a real sense of what it would be like to live with the unjustified loss of one’s own child in such a violent manner.
On the surface The Silence appears to be ‘just another’ crime thriller, but within minutes of pressing play on the DVD player, it quickly identifies itself as a scarily in-depth look at the psychological workings of paedophiles and the audience becomes engulfed in a web of perversion. Chilling indeed, but highly recommended and we look forward to finding out with Baran bo Odar has planned for his succeeding feature.
Watch the trailer and read our preview here.
For more information check out Soda Pictures’ website here and follow director Baran bo Odar on Twitter @baranboodar.