CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
Film Review: Guilt, Grief Wrapped Up in Mystery of ‘The Silence’
CHICAGO – With echoes of “The Vanishing” and “Memories of Murder,” Baran bo Odar’s dread-filled “The Silence” is a character-based thriller that focuses more on the people wrapped up in its web of perversion and murder than the crimes themselves. It’s an accomplished debut with a notable German cast that falters only a bit in terms of plotting and pacing but still heralds the arrival of a confident director who works well with both actors and visual composition. “The Silence” can be punishingly bleak and even depressing but it’s undeniably well-made and performed at the same time.
Two men – Peer (Ulrich Thomsen) and Timo (Wotan Wilke Mohring) – sit and watch a film in a darkened room. Timo’s stunned, ashamed reaction makes it clear that the film is not a happy one. They get in a car and drive off, passing a young girl named Pia on a bike. They double back and head after the girl. Peer gets out of the car and brutally, sexually assaults her, before killing her. Timo is shocked but silent. He even watches as Peer dumps the girl’s body in the lake.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Silence” in our reviews section.|
23 years later and the community still reels from the fact that Pia’s killer was never found. Pia’s mother (Katrin Sass) and stepfather (Burgart Klaussner), who happened to be the investigating officer on the case, still live under the heavy blanket of grief. So does Timo, having done nothing to stop the crime nor report on the murderer who still lives in the same apartment where they watched the film that inspired him to kill. Timo has a family now and daughters of his own but the past lingers for everyone.
Photo credit: Music Box Films