Based on the novel by Jan Costin Wagner, The Silence, directed by Baran bo Odar is a fascinating, realized crime drama from Germany.
The film starts in 1986, with two men sitting in semi-darkness after watching a grimy homemade movie. When the film runs out, the two men silently exit the building, walk to the garage and get into a car. After spotting a young girl taking a path through an isolated meadow on her bicycle, the men follow her. The girl, Pia, played by Helene Doppler is raped and murdered by Peer (Ulrich Thomsen) while the second man, Timo (Wotan Wilke Möhring), watches with equal parts of disgust and arousal. The two dispose of the body and return home, but before Peer’s car has been washed of any evidence Timo has packed and boarded a bus out of town in guilt.
23 years later, returning to the present day, we see another young girl, Sinikka played by Anna-Lena Klenke cycling away from home after an argument with her parents and being stood up by her friends. The next day her bicycle is found at the site of the previous killing and the investigation of the exact same crime, in the exact same place, just many years later, begins.
Krischan Mittich (Burghart Klaussner), the retired police detective on the first case is still haunted by his inability to solve the murder after so many years, while Matthias Grimmer (Oliver Stokowski), the lead investigative officer on the new case believes it’s merely a copycat killing.
The settings are semi-rural, ordinary and faultless, the production is well paced, even at two hours, and the direction is very well done.
Tension levels jump at key moments with Odar keeping the audience one step ahead of some of the characters, but not all of them.
The Silence is a powerful and emotionally affecting look at people caught up in a bedlam of violence and loss and I would definitely recommended giving it a watch.
WICKED RATING: 7/10 (7 / 10)
Director(s): Baran bo Odar
Writer(s): Baran bo Odar, Jan Costin Wagner
Stars: Ulrich Thomsen, Claudia Michelsen, Wotan Wilke Möhring
Studio/ Production Co: Cine Plus, Lüthje & Schneider Filmproduktion, Das Kleine Fernsehspiel (ZDF)
Budget: $2,300,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller