|'one of the more compelling police procedurals offered over the last few years'|
Let down on occasion by its less than stellar cast, The Silence is still one of the more compelling police procedurals offered over the last few years. Indeed, one of its main strengths is in taking that genre and broadening out what can be offered. There's a relationship of some sort taking place between this and Bong Joon-ho's Memories Of Murder and certainly every member of The Silence's cast of characters is suffering from the latent feelings left by past brushes with violence and death.
At the films centre an investigation rumbles into why a young girl appears to have been abducted in exactly the same way as a different girl, twenty-three years earlier. Detective David Jahn (Sebastian Blomberg), grieving from the death of his wife by cancer, gets the least interesting part of the plot, as he recovers under the wing of retiring detective Krischan (Burghart Klaußner) and stumbles around solving the mystery.
In fact, Jahn's less-than-interesting development is mainly down to the fact that he is surrounded by a large band of ambiguous, layered supporting players, none of whom are entirely 'good' or 'bad'. Most interesting of all is Timo (Wotan Wilke Möhring), whose clear guilt is tempered by an apparent reluctance to be quite as evil as he might be and the hint that he is on the verge of redemption. His eventual conclusion, distinctly individual when compared, again, to other perhaps more mainstream procedurals, is worryingly indecisive and dares to tempt the viewer into dissatisfaction.
Technically perhaps, The Silence suffers a little from looking a touch made-for-TV, though director Baran bo Odar does bring in some lovely shots - a car being tracked by an overhead helicopter looks like something out of video game, the bright yellow straw fields are distinct - it can resort to more bland tricks. The music is extremely predictable in its execution and almost everyone who works with David is fairly low-rent hire-a-cop. With all that though, this tries new things in familiar territory and crafts a bleak vision of the influence of death on all around it.