Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Silence: Crime and Angst in Germany
cops, déjà vu can be extremely unpleasant.
When thirteen year old Sinikka is found brutally murdered in the exact
same spot and on the exact same date as young Pia was twenty-three years
earlier, it obviously means something. Unfortunately, since the previous case remains
unsolved, the police have no prime suspect, but there is plenty of guilt, grief,
and general angst to go around in Baran bo Odar’s The Silence (trailer
opens this Friday in New York.
the German police, viewers know right from the start who the killers are, because
Silence shows us almost immediately. It was two socially awkward men drawn together
by their sick desires. One actually did
the deed, while the other cowered in the car, disappearing shortly
thereafter. Newly retired detective
Krischan Mittich never came close to catching either of them. Of course, when the new victim is discovered
he wants back on the case.
the bridge-burner is not exactly welcomed back by the new boss. Only his former colleague David Jahn finds
time for him. Frankly, the rumpled cop
probably never should have been involved in the investigation in the first
place. Still profoundly grieving his
late wife, Jahn is still a basket case, who just happened to answer the call on
his first day back. Yet, like most
grungy looking detectives, his intuition is quite keen.
not exactly a whodunit, the nature of the game played in Silence is a mystery Baran bo Odar lets unfold slowly but sure-footedly. Indeed, viewers might very well have pitched
debates whether the ending represents justice or not. Regardless, it is certainly distinctive and
light years removed from anything Hollywood would countenance.
Blomberg is remarkably forceful as Jahn, but never showy. He is clearly coming apart at the seams, but
in a restrained, even repressed way. Burghart
Klaussner’s Mittich is an appropriately charismatic blowhard, who looks like he
was born to play an ex-cop. Yet, Katrin
Sass truly dominates the film as Elena Lange, the mother of the first murdered
girl. Her performance is too smart and
multi-layered to simply be dismissed as the film’s moral center, though she
largely serves that function too. Banshee fans will also note Ulrich
Thomsen (often appearing under a ridiculous wig). It is a disturbing but sophisticated turn
that really gets under one’s skin down the stretch.
is about as existential as crime dramas get
while staying within genre. Cerebral in
tone and deeply pessimistic of human nature (befitting a German film from a
Swiss filmmaker, featuring a Scandinavian co-star), it is recommended for fans
of ambitious, psychologically complex thrillers. It opens this Friday (3/8) in New York at the
Labels: German Cinema, Ulrich Thomsen