Star rating– 7/10
The Silence is an accomplished debut from German director Baran Bo Odar. It is not so much a whodunit as a study in guilt. A schoolgirl was raped and murdered 23 years ago whilst out cycling in the country lanes near her home, and the crime remains unsolved. There is no mystery for the audience however, as the two men involved are shown with one brutally committing the crime, and one watching him do it.
On the exact anniversary of the murder, 23 years later, the detective who fruitlessly led the investigation is about to retire from the police, and is still haunted by the crime remaining unsolved. And another young girl goes missing in very similar circumstances, so similar that the conclusions cannot fail to be drawn that she had also been murdered, maybe by the same person.
The film painfully studies the effects the loss has had on the original victim’s mother, on the parents of the recently missing girl, as well as the police themselves, who are not without their own private tragedies. And of course, the killers themselves have rightly not been able to escape the after effects of their own terrible actions. The action is very well shot, with a great colour palette making the contrast between the beautiful rural locations and the deeds committed there all the more stark; and the sound track is suitably menacing and disturbing in all the right places.
The acting is great, but the end is a tad anticlimactic, as the culprits are known from the start, but this is a well done crime movie, and the director is certainly one to watch out for.