aka Das letzte Schweigen
The Silence opens with two men driving in a car on a country road somewhere in Germany. They pass a young girl on her bike who turns down a road partially hidden in a wooded area. The car backs up and proceeds to follow the girl. The driver gets out, approaches the girl, and then viciously attacks her while his passenger waits in the car as it happens. The mood this scene puts you in is the same one that will stay with you throughout the entire duration of the film.
The majority of the film takes place 23 years after the girl vanishes in the opening scene when yet another girl goes missing. What’s interesting about this case is that it happens to be on the anniversary of the old case, and the bike belonging to the most recent missing girl, 13-year-old Sinikka, was found in the very same spot as that of Pia, the original victim. This new string of events cause several characters that have some relation or passion for the case to become invested in finding out who is responsible and finding answers.
There’s a widowed cop determined to fill the void in his life, a recently retired cop similarly doing the same, a successful family man with secrets, and the parents of both missing girls to name a few. All intertwine to form the groundwork of the mystery surrounding the missing girls. As the police follow leads and connections between the original and present cases, Sinikka’s parents struggle to pick up the pieces of what remains of their relationship and our family man Timo (Wotan Wilke Möhring) faces his past and present in the midst of the latest news headlines. Family, workplace, and crime drama all circulate the dark and bleak atmosphere with seamless consistency, which kept me equally interested in each character and his/her conflicts and developments.
Though this is certainly not a feel-good movie, should a story with this sort of subject matter really be anyway? I felt the film really embodied the feeling of loss, small-town tragedy and personal and familial conflicts at different levels quite realistically. This was not a film that set out to be a revenge film, or to find justice of the crime. It’s goal seemed to be to simply explore the effects caused by the tragic events that took place. Most of those effects are bad, and leave us with ill feelings. The film does this eerily well with the perfect musical score, clean yet stark camera shots, and bone-chillingly good acting performances all around. Many will be put off by the less than pleasant-feeling ending, and the overall feeling the film emits but those looking for a more emotive and gripping crime thriller will find much to delve into with The Silence.