Review by Sean Boelman
Every once in a while, it’s nice to sit down with a nice popcorn movie that’s mindless and not especially challenging. The Silencing, a new thriller starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, fits that bill to a tee, with a script that’s admittedly generic but has just enough life and excitement in it to be entertaining.
The film tells the story of a reclusive hunter who, years after his daughter was kidnapped and presumed missing, finds himself racing against the clock to find a serial killer whose recent string of brutal killings may be tied to his daughter’s case. Part revenge thriller and part crime mystery, it’s an entertaining if standard B-movie elevated by a strong cast and solid direction.
One of the issues with the movie is that Micha Ranum’s script is quite indecisive. It’s not uncommon for there to be twists in a film like this, but the script keeps changing its mind and reverses its decisions more than once. After a while, it benefits the viewer to stop caring about the story and just watch the movie for its action.
The character development in the film is also rather subpar. The protagonist’s arc is very generic, hinging almost entirely on his long-held grief over his daughter. On the other hand, the co-lead, a sheriff who has her own reasons for catching the killer, is rather inexplicable as a character and may not resonate with the audience.
A central theme to the movie is guilt and responsibility, and while this ties the different narrative threads together, it’s the same thing that has been seen over and over again. The trope of having a mourning father turn into a vigilante is well-worn at this point, and Ranum doesn’t do enough to make his film stand out in another way.
Still, the movie features some really strong performances that make it worth a watch. Coster-Waldau does more than just sulk in his leading role, giving the film a much-needed emotional core. Annabelle Wallis is a little less subtle with her performance, although her delivery fits the pulpy nature of the movie rather well.
There are also some things that impress on a visual level. Director Robin Pront does a great job of building the film’s atmosphere, particularly when it comes to the more suspense-driven “hunting” scenes. The use of gore and violence is minimal, but when it’s there, it has quite the impact.
The Silencing isn’t a great movie, but it’s well-made enough to meet the bare minimum of expectations. For an hour and a half, it’s not a bad choice for viewers looking for some thrills that don’t require much from them in return.
The Silencing hits theaters and VOD on August 14.