The Silence


Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 7, 2013
    The Silence is an exemplary German-language thriller, a complex and disturbing examination of guilt, violence and psychological torment that chills us to the core not once but two times over.
  2. Reviewed by: Jim Emerson
    Mar 13, 2013
    What's exceptional about The Silence is its style.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Mar 8, 2013
    What you'll carry away is the film's austere sympathy for the struggles of its benighted characters and its bleak conviction that justice and resolution mostly happen in movies.
  4. Reviewed by: Philip Kemp
    Mar 5, 2013
    In his feature debut, Swiss director Baran bo Odar counterpoints the tranquillity of the landscape with the mental torment of everyone involved, and what could have been just another serial-killer whodunit becomes a complex study of grief, obsession and the persistence of guilt.
  5. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Mar 5, 2013
    Making his feature debut, Swiss-born writer/director Baran bo Odar has turned Jan Costin Wagner’s 2007 novel The Silence into a taut, beautifully acted thriller.
  6. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Mar 5, 2013
    As a macro- to micro-exploration of guilt—over giving in to sexual deviancy, its use as a psychological crutch or as something that keeps grief from transforming into closure — The Silence speaks volumes.
  7. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 7, 2013
    [Mr. Odar] allows the story to unfold at a deliberate pace, emphasizing the psychological nuances of the mystery rather than its procedural details, and using graceful wide-screen compositions and haunting sound design to create a compelling mood of menace, anxiety and sorrow.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Mar 6, 2013
    From moment to moment, The Silence can feel a bit pokey, as it divides its attention among a host of characters and never builds up much urgency about the fate of the second victim, whose body hasn’t been found.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Mar 2, 2013
    The slightly dour tone is the perfect backdrop for the director to skillfully weave together his varied narrative strands in a surprisingly entertaining medley.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 3, 2014
    A haunting tale which was interesting enough to keep my attention, but surprisingly lacked somewhat the emotional connection I expected. It'sA haunting tale which was interesting enough to keep my attention, but surprisingly lacked somewhat the emotional connection I expected. It's definitely a minimalistic thriller, relying more on subtleties in character to drive the story, which is refreshing, but at the same time, too "read between the lines" for me. Motivation and means of the crime were not fully explored which was odd but intentional. It's so different that I'm surprised I didn't like it. Maybe it needs another watch. Full Review »
  2. Feb 23, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. (spoiler alert) "The Silence" is at times like watching a car accident, you feel disgusted but you can't stop watching. The acting is superb except for the detective, David. I found him almost laughable at times. This movie gives off a feeling of dread that keeps escalating but in the end justice is never fully served which is more truth than fiction. I would have liked to have seen the movie end just after the suicide. The denouement was not necessary and I thought took away some of the suspense. Definitely a thriller that is thriller. Full Review »
  3. Aug 1, 2013
    At a confident and steady pace, the script allows the characters to develop powerful, subtle performances, rather than relying on theirAt a confident and steady pace, the script allows the characters to develop powerful, subtle performances, rather than relying on their dialogue. Suspense fans tired of low-brow, explicit exploitation movies may want to check out “The Silence,” an absorbing German thriller that delivers the suspense without sacrificing the drama of the human experience.

    On July 8th, 1986, a eleven year old girl Pia (Helene Doppler) is raped and murdered by Peer (Ulrich Thomsen) while a second man, Timo (Wotan Wilke Möhring), watches with equal parts of disgust and arousal. The two dispose of the body and return home, but while Peer began to destroy any potential evidence, Timo has already packed and boarded a bus out of town. 23 years later, to the very day, another young girl goes missing with only her bike and bag left behind at the very spot where Pia was abducted years ago. Writer/director Baran bo Odar‘s film, “The Silence,” follows the distraught families, the police, and the two men behind the original unsolved case in a story that explores grief and guilt, obsession and duty.

    It's a well-acted, emotion-charged drama whose murder mystery is almost secondary to the human element. It's a complex examination of the many facets of humanity in which even those who commit the most heinous acts aren't complete monsters. The film is about tragedy and the everlasting impact on those involved, from the victims to the perpetrators.

    Director Baran bo Odar maintains a sense of morbid fascination in a film that in someone else's hands might become overwhelmingly unpleasant. Despite its nearly two-hour running time, it never becomes dull or depressing, thanks in part to large cast of characters whose nuanced portrayals strike a chord of truth terrifyingly so for any parent. Even though the conclusion isn’t exactly overpowering, the journey is remarkably nuanced and compelling and most certainly an uncomfortable one.
    Full Review »