|Index||6 reviews in total|
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A
Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs
Rachel (Emily Woof) is a single-mother who awakens in a hospital to be told by Dr Herd (Kevin Whately) the devastating news that her baby has died.However,she experiences flashbacks which tell her all doesn't quite add up,and,with the help of hospital care-taker Daniel (Douglas Henshall) she sets out to uncover the truth.
An interesting,twisting-and-turning story plays at odds with a dry,flat script that creates emotional dis-attachment with the characters.On the performances front,Woof and Henshall just amble along in the lead roles,whilst I just don't really click with Whately as an actor,finding him somewhat off-putting and flat (and what happened to his character at the end,by the way?!??).The star of the show here is easily Clive Russell who carves a genuinely menacing presence as the looming Det Betts.Certainly worth watching if you want to see an intriguing story unfold,but there's very little to keep you lingering around once you've worked it all out.Except maybe a nice Cranberries/Corrs? song at the end.***
Julian Richards' 'Silent Cry' is a well-crafted thriller shot
restraint and style. Notable cameos from the likes of Kevin
and Frank Finlay add depth to the proceedings, and there's
washed-out look to the colours that gives things a modern
feel. The pic never outstays its welcome, being fairly tight
around 80 minutes, and has a freshness despite the fact that
roots are showing. Although many of its elements are familiar
baby-snatching, corruption in official circles, a good cop/bad
pairing - 'Silent Cry' re-assembles the parts, gives them a good
spin and polish, and comes out seeming new.
Story focuses on Rachel Stewart, whose new born child is abducted by a sinister syndicate, and has touches of 'The Omen' and 'Rosemary's Baby', but plays for suspense instead of horror. It's grounded in realism, located in gloomy hospital corridors, anaemic blocks of flats, and in the gutter among the homeless and the wasted.
When Rachel goes "undercover" to trace those responsible for the abduction, we're almost entering 'Searchers' territory, though we don't see the same kind of righteous obsession in Rachel that we did in Ethan. Instead we just feel her awkwardness; it's almost embarrassing to see her dolled up to cruise the bars... But she's out of her depth, doesn't belong in this world. Emily Woof (as Rachel) has a waif-like quality that comes across well here. She's so frail you fear she might break.
There's a satisfying conclusion with a twist I didn't see coming (though I should have - I've seen its like before). The budding romance between Rachel and Daniel is nicely understated - saved for the future, in fact, which is just as well. It wouldn't really fit here anyway. Feminists might wonder why Rachel (who chose having her baby over keeping the man who fathered it) needs another man to help her overcome the odds, but 'Silent Cry' isn't preaching liberation; its people are rootless and alone, and in need of any kind of stability they can get.
Rachel is onscreen almost constantly, and she's emoting all the way. This seems tough on the actress, and at times becomes a little wearying to watch. Emily brings charm and vulnerability to the role, but her character is under such strain you sometimes feel she's playing it all on one note, somewhere between a cry and a whimper. She carries a strained look almost to the final frame, but we can safely assume she'll laugh later.
As her ally Daniel Stone, Doug Henshall bears the heavy-eyed stare of an overburdened nightshift worker. The first time you see him, you know here's a man who has become his job. At first this downbeat hero is reluctant to join Rachel in her search, but he later comes into his own. As a former resident of cardboard city, Daniel is in a sense searching for his own safe warm place, his own family. Unlike Emily, he doesn't really know what he's looking for until he suddenly finds it staring him in the face.
Jimmy Tibbs (Steve Sweeney) is diverting as a crazy crustie, but he also seems something of a "type", while Craig Kelly carves a little niche for himself as D.C Moseley, a character I wished we could see more of. We'll remember him though for the way he bows out - in some style. More problematic is Clive Russell's Betts, a one-dimensional villain. Wonderfully menacing during the chase sequences (the film is loaded with chase variations), he mugs his way through everything else. I would've preferred a villain with a human streak, or at least to see a couple of cracks in his armour. In the end Betts is simply Evil Personified, linking 'Silent Cry' back to the horror film.
Technically, considering the small cost of the production, there's little to fault. The gritty/bleak settings give much of 'Silent Cry' a TV feel at first glance, but the fluid camera and rhythmic cutting are surely cinematic. Technique seldom draws attention to itself, and there are subtleties at work. One sequence, just a random example, where Daniel raids the doctor's office is all the more suspenseful for its stark contrasty lighting, deft intercutting (between a black room and white corridor) and prowling camera. The chase sequences on echoic stairwells, in and out of lifts and through blackened streets have a splendid kinetic feel. Overall, although I don't have my copy of 'Darklands' to hand for comparison, I'd say this is a definite step forward for the director, showing a clear command of the medium. Interesting, too, that as 'Darklands' ends with the birth of one child, 'Silent Cry' begins with another. The work of an auteur or what?
A day after she held her newborn in her arms, still in the hospital, the doctor informs Rachel that the baby has died. Broken and incredulous, Rachel returns to the hospital, finds a comrade among the hospital staff, and together they go out into the darker corners of London on a journey in which they discover not a few disturbing secrets. Alongside the twisting plot and the talented ensemble of actors, the camera plays a lead role in the way in which it colors the hospital corridors, the rainy streets of London and the gutters populated by prostitutes and homeless people. The result is a finely wrought thriller, directed with impressive emotional restraint.
Julian Richards' "Silent Cry" is a slow-burn, crime noir. The film
follows a single mother who battles forces beyond her control to get
back the newborn son taken from her. It is a stark look into the
underworld of crime, cradled in the shadowy life of the destitute and
street walker. People who are at the mercy of those above them in
society with the power to manipulate and exploit. The film is a pulled
back melodrama foregoing the theatrics and over-the-top elements that
Richards has shown in earlier films. Instead "Silent Cry" is a more
emotional, heartfelt thriller that seems to bring a chilling light into
a corrupt aspect of modern society. Although the film is not a
supernatural thriller, nor does it deal with the occult, "Silent Cry"
still maintains a haunting, almost macabre atmosphere steeped in
The cinematography is well thought out and visceral, focusing more on the human connection between the characters. The sound effects offer a eerie sense of unease that is chilling. The characters are well rounded and tenable. The story of "Silent Cry" is a somber, disturbing tale of conspiracy, exploitation and corruption that manages to make the viewer feel the helplessness and despair of the main character, "Rachel Stewart". It is also a story that is ripped from modern times and haunts the alleyways and doorsteps of urban legend-the stolen child from the hospital nursery.
"Silent Cry" is a true, thrilling film that should appeal to anyone longing for mature crime noir storytelling. It is well shot, well acted and maintains a strong continuity from start to finish. The over-all effect of the film is a more subdued suspenseful tale that is just as horrifying as any. This was a film that I had not seen before and I am glad to have seen. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and found it to be a true modern classic.
"Silent Cry" is a twenty-first century thriller with roots in the
British tradition of "kitchen sink" social realism. The main character
is Rachel Stewart, a single mother who is told that her baby has died
only a few hours after she gave birth to him. Her suspicions are
aroused, however, by the behaviour of the doctors involved and their
reluctance to let her see the body. Suspecting that her baby may have
been kidnapped, she attempts to uncover the truth with the help of
Daniel Stone, a sympathetic hospital porter. Their investigations lead
them into danger when they discover that a ruthless gang have been
abducting babies for adoption by childless couples. They are, however,
unable to inform the police as the leader of the gang is himself a
In their heyday in the fifties and sixties, British kitchen sink films mostly dealt with working-class life. "Silent Cry" deals not so much with the traditional working class as with the modern underclass of drug addicts, prostitutes and petty criminals. Apart from the villains, who are largely middle-class Establishment figures such as doctors and policemen, about the only character who has a job is Daniel, and even he is a reformed ex-convict recently released from jail. I was reminded of "Dirty Pretty Things", another British social-realist thriller from 2002 which also had a hospital setting and which dealt with London's underclass and with a sinister conspiracy among members of the medical profession. (One difference, however, is that "Dirty Pretty Things" dealt mostly with members of various immigrant communities, whereas in "Silent Cry" nearly all the characters are white British).
Besides its links with the British social realist tradition, the film also has some similarities with American neo-noir crime dramas such as "L.A. Confidential". Films of this type attempt to capture something of the spirit of the films noirs of the forties and fifties, and often have complex plots involving widespread corruption and wrongdoing, particularly by those in positions of authority. There was, however, always more to film noir than a crime-related theme and a complicated storyline; atmosphere was equally important, and neo-noir directors are often able to give their films an atmospheric look equivalent to the moody black-and-white photography of classic noir. Director Julian Richards achieves that here with a bleak, faded look appropriate to the film's grim subject matter and to the stark, bare hospital corridors, shabby, dilapidated flats and urban wastelands against which it is shot.
The acting is good, especially from Emily Woof as the vulnerable but determined heroine and from Clive Russell as the menacing villain Dennis Betts. I would not rate the film quite as highly as "Dirty Pretty Things", which I felt had a greater insight into social issues, but "Silent Cry" is a gripping, well-made thriller which holds the attention and does not (unlike many recent American thrillers) waste time on unconvincing or unnecessary plot twists. 7/10
I recorded this film on sky+ when it was shown recently on TV. Unfortunately I was unaware that there was a short news bulletin in the middle and I missed the second half. As I am unable to buy it on video or DVD can someone PLEASE tell me what happened and what it was all about. I would be very grateful for this. I saw about the first 55 minutes up to the bit where they were picked up and taken to the friend's flat. It has been very frustrating not to know after watching so much of an enjoyable, at least as much as I managed to see, film. I do hope that someone out there can help and I would be very grateful, alternatively perhaps someone knows if it will ever be released to buy. C.Scott
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