Art of the Real 728x90 Film Comment Film Society of Lincoln Center

Mystery Pick: The Silence

By Max Kyburz

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(Music Box, $29.95)

The Silence

In 1986, a young girl is raped and murdered in a field. Twenty-three years later to the day, a similar act is committed at the exact same location. All of those who are affected by the murders—the detectives, the families, the perpetrators themselves—undergo the pains of loss, obsession, and reconciliation with the past in Baran bo Odar’s debut. Based upon Jan Costin Wagner’s novel of the same name, The Silence is more a rich character study than a whodunit, with echoes of Zodiac, The Sweet Hereafter, The Vanishing, and the films of Todd Field. Despite various B-movie trappings (the killer in a hooded rain slicker; an atmospheric slasher movie score), Odar and a strong ensemble cast (led by Sebastian Blomberg as the haunted lead detective) maintain a steady intensity and a strong focus on psychology rather than exploitation. This 2010 German gem has finally found its way to Region 1 DVD (Odar’s early short films included).