Movie Review ~ The Silence (Das letzte Schweigen)

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The Facts:

Synopsis: 13-year-old Sinikka vanishes on a hot summer night. Her bicycle is found in the exact place where a girl was killed 23 years ago. The dramatic present forces those involved in the original case to face their past.

Stars: Ulrich Thomsen, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Sebastian Blomberg, Katrin Sass, Burghart Klaussner

Director: Baran bo Odar

Rated: NR

Running Length: 118 minutes

Trailer Review: Here

TMMM Score: (7/10)

Review:  Good movies like The Silence come along so rarely that they can be passed over for more mainstream fare if audiences don’t have their ear to the ground on the lookout for solid entertainment.  This moody, atmospheric crime drama was released in its native Germany back in 2010 and finally arrived on our shores as the snow was melting and the spring thaw was on its way…very apropos weather for this chilly thriller..

The less you know about the overall plot for The Silence, the better lest you are spoiled to some of the more intricate twists the film has waiting for you.  The movie isn’t going to change the way you look at crime thrillers both foreign and domestic and in reality the crime is the least interesting thing about the movie. Adapting a popular novel director bo Odar wisely makes the movie about the people affected by a murder in a small town rather than the bloodletting that brings them all into our focus.

Nearly a quarter century after a young girl was murdered, another girl vanishes in the same spot under similar circumstances and the film follows nearly everyone who had a hand in the crime.  Though it doesn’t go to the dark places of Zodiac or Revanche (another skillful foreign thriller), the film nonetheless shows a sinister edge in senseless killing and how it can have repercussions for years after.

Well cast with a realistically believable troupe of actors, The Silence hums along nicely as police investigate leads, family members point fingers, and insight is given into who was responsible for the crime and why.  Though it’s no secret who “done it”, bo Odar manages to keep his house of cards building steadily as the minutes tick by.  The movie has some nice turns that I didn’t see coming and subtle conclusions that make sense within the context of the people, places, and ideas that it introduces.

The best crime thrillers steer clear of an overabundance of exposition and that’s exactly why The Silence works so well – it presents a very straight-forward narrative and gives its audience the kind of supporting players that keep you interested even if you’ve already figured out where it’s all  headed.  There were a few moments where I didn’t have a clue what would happen next…making the final moments all the more satisfying.

If you miss the theatrical run of The Silence, make sure to catch it at some point because it’s well worth a watch for the performances and craftsmanship of its production team.

The Silver Bullet ~ The Silence (Das letzte Schweigen)

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Synopsis: 13-year-old Sinikka vanishes on a hot summer night. Her bicycle is found in the exact place where a girl was killed 23 years ago. The dramatic present forces those involved in the original case to face their past.

Release Date: March 8, 2013 

Thoughts: There’s something about a foreign thriller that always makes me sit up and take note whenever I see a trailer for an upcoming release.  European filmmakers are sometimes willing to take a bit more risks with plot and pacing that US directors/studios just wouldn’t go near.  The Silence is a German thriller released in 2010 that’s just now arriving on our shores and it looks pretty nifty as far as these types of films go.  The disappearance of two girls 23 years apart is the basis for the proceedings and if the trailer is any indication, a slow burn crime drama awaits those who venture into a screening – I’ll be one of them.