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Reviews & Ratings for
Silentium More at IMDbPro »

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31 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Splendid black comedy

Author: Starbuck-13 from Bamberg, Germany
26 July 2005

I really like Austrian humor. Many Austrian comedians display a certain kind of self irony modern German comedians seem to be incapable of. Georg Hader is one of the best Austrian comedians out there, and his movies are unfortunately hardly famous in Germany, which is a real pity.

Hader mixture of black humor, self irony and the wonderful accent provide splendid entertainment. in "Silentium", he targets the catholic church and the high society of the beautiful city of Salzburg.

While Salzburg is a beautiful panorama for this movie, the most important thing about this film are the characters, who - far from being heroes - try to solve a murder mystery with nothing else but courage and surprising integrity - considering they hardly manage to keep their own lives straight.

A wonderful example of Austrian comedy. Highly recommendable!

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

after a suicide starts investigate in the catholic church and at the "Salzburger- Festspiele"

Author: mikaschmidt from Germany
6 October 2005

i had seen all movies with Josef Hader and "silentium" is his best. I like the language of Vienna and the Austrian humor.

absolutely excellent movie!

Josef Hader is a great actor and he plays "Brenner" as an unrepeatable character. the movie plays with black humor with the catholic church, with some good blasphemy scenes, and on the other side with the conservatives of the Salzburger Festspiele. this is magnificent. this movie is art!! with great actors (e.g. Udo Samel, Jürgen Tarrach... etc.)

highly recommendable!

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Austrian film-making at its best!

Author: Vlad Rotariu ( from Sibiu, Romania
14 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching this film during this summer on the Austrian channel ORF I had great expectations due to a very catchy, intriguing promo. My already high expectations were not disappointed. It is always great pleasure to see that European cinema constantly produces such almost unknown masterpieces, especially today, when it has become increasingly harder( in 2004, when this film was made or afterward) to stick to the European style.

The plot is, tough not copying Almodovar, an Austrian version of " La Mala Educacion"- both Spain and Austria being traditionally Catholic countries, the various scandals, rumors and ( sometimes unjust) allegations surrounding this powerful institution provide a rich, almost endless material for movies with various approaches of the matter.

Unlike Almodovar's film, this one goes much further in analyzing the multi layered connection between church and secular society and the part these connections play in order to defend its respectable image at all cost.

But just like in Almodovar's film a young man is dubiously silenced( and others even more endangered) as he tries to unveil the abuse he was constantly subjected to while studying in a Catholic school, in this one none else than the son-in-law of the ( fictional, but most likely not too far from real characters) director of the Salzburg theater is mysteriously killed just when he intended to make some uncomfortable confessions from his past which could incriminate some important church officials.

The film starts off with two memorable landmarks of Salzburg- first a cliff with a breathtaking view overlooking the town, from whom the victim is actually thrown and which will play also an important part towards the film's climax( reference to Hitchcock's " Vertigo") and secondly the famous Salzburg theater festival, as the film begins just at the point where that year's edition is marred, almost overshadowed by the murder in the director's family.

This is the moment when the strange, antisocial but honest detective with a shady background Brenner sets in to unveil the truth. He is a former cop, thrown out from active service for undisclosed matters and presently acting on his own, constantly experiencing extreme poverty and social exclusion. It is almost unbelievable to see that Salzburg, a city depicted as quiet and law-abiding can have so many homeless people and poor sections, when it actually seems to small and wealthy, to idyllic to have anyhting else but middle-class, if not richer inhabitants( just like Austria).

He soon discovers that the influential theater director is not interested to solve the case, however his daughter, eager to find the truth about her husband's death urges Brenner to lead an investigation. As Brenner examines the Catholic school where the victim once studies, he soon discovers a complicated network of both heterosexual and homosexual child molesters constantly provided by this institution with fresh"meat" of both genders. Some clients are influential especially one prominent opera singer which looks like a hetero version of Rudolph Mooshammer and even has a taste for rented sex and bizarre fetishes just like the famous fashion designer.

But as the investigation goes on, the Church officials and other mighty figures become worried about the outlandish detective and try to kill him on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, after he is unjustly accused of having killed the roommate with whom he shared a sordid lodging( and, just like in Almodovar's film, the church works extremely efficiently in faking clues, everything pointing at Brenner) he manages to escape narrowly from the same death like the one that started the plot( and from the top of the same cliff). After he kills some employees of that infamous school in self-defense, further investigations are ceased and he has to leave the town temporally. Furthermore, the victim's widow is not eager for justice anymore, accepting the same guilty silence around her, either forced by her strict father or realizing that she's can not fight the system. She is actually one of the most complex characters in the film, torn between her spoiled need for a sheltered life and her desire to look for justice at the expense of respectability.

Subnsequently, the film's title reveals its doublethink or doublespeak meaning: it hints both at the silence required in strict schools during classes, but also the mendacity dominating society's most respectable institutions and most privileged circles.

It's captivating too see that, besides it's typically Austrian, dark humor( e.g. a real, non-fictional village called petting, used here as a pun just like the film's title) how actual the issue can be. That is, in many cases, not just the dishonest corrupt official, but also honest people in traditionally Catholic countries try to cover up such scandals, the latter category so well manipulated that they truly believe in the church's innocence.

Haunting and worth seeing, but also meditating about.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A great Austrian movie with black humor at it's best

Author: Katharinaki from Austria
7 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really liked Josef Hader (Brenner) before, but after seen that movie, I must say I love him! In Austria, he's also known a a great comedian and he now shows surprisingly outstanding acting skills in this movie.

All the other actors make an excellent job as well, in particularly Simon Schwarz as Brenner's friend Berti.

The movie deals with a very explosive topic - the catholic church and sexual abuse/prostitution. I really think that they somehow managed to handle it with the due respect to this crime, but never forgetting to outpoint its existence, even in a beautiful city like Salzburg (where we might think, it only exists in other places).

If you're digging black humor, you have to see Silentium!

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The second Brenner is on course to greatness

Author: Thomas ( from Berlin, Germany
9 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is "Silentium", an Austrian German-language film from 2004, so it is already over 10 years old. It is the second of so far four films from the Brenner series directed by Wolfgang Murnberger and starring Josef Hader, who also wrote on the script here. I must say I did not like the first film, but I really loved the third (thanks to Bierbichler mostly). This one we have here fits in nicely. It was made between them in terms of time and it also fits right in terms of quality. It was a good watch, but nothing great I would say. The humor was working on several occasions and the case Brenner was investigating was also interesting as it involved him going up against a scrupulous priest and his two murderous henchmen. This is really not at all about guessing who the bad guys are. Actually you see two of them in the very first scene and it's immediately obvious to who fills the role of the main antagonist this time.

"Silentium" runs for almost 2 hours and manages that it almost never drags. The early scene with Brenner losing his job as a mall detective when a woman accuses him of touching her inappropriately despite being actually a thief tells a lot about the comedy in here. We laugh at Brenner on some occasions, but we don't really need to feel sorry about it. Dark humor is common in Austrian movies and this one here fits in nicely under that category. To me personally, Brenner (in his non-police moments) always reminds me a bit of Louis C.K in his hit series "Louie". The approach to comedy feels similar sometimes. The cast is pretty good too. Schwarz is on board again as co-lead to Brenner and Król gives a good portrayal too. Jürgen Tarrach, Georg Friedrich and the late Christoph Schlingensief don't have that much screen time, but they give small yet memorable performances, which i enjoyed. Especially Tarrach (an opera singer with a very unique method of training his vocal chords) is completely hilarious. There is violence in here, also sometimes very graphic scenes, so it's not for the easily offended. But everybody who doesn't mind that and likes their crime movies with an ounce of comedy will have a good time watching here. Just like myself. I give "Silentium" a thumbs-up.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: RSHouck3 from United States
17 January 2011

I saw this movie last night at the Jacob Burns Theater in Pleasantville, NY and was told it is only the 2nd time it has been shown in the US. It certainly deserves a wider audience, but perhaps that explains the few entries I found on this site. My main reason for posting this is not so much to review the film as to ask other viewers whether they found film citation other than the ones to North By Northwest and Butch Casidy - both quite charming. I also found the use of the Mozart opera Abduction from the Seraglio to be clever, given the harem / bordello role in the film. So we have high brow and middle brow references in this film along with Austrian takes on Hollywood garage chase scenes - complete with a clever ending to the scene. Despite the buddy film aspects, this one cannot be mistaken for Hollywood, which adds to the suspense.

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8 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

not as good as the book

Author: Sheila von Rimscha from United Kingdom
24 July 2006

Silentium is a very funny book and made me laugh out loud, (which very few books do). I was curious how it could possibly translate into a film, as so much of the humour in all of Wolf Haas's Simon Brenner novels comes comes from the prose style and the clever, dry, often very politically incorrect, comments of the narrator. And in the end, a lot of that humour was lost in the film. The film still had the amusing situation and black comedy of the book (even if the plot had been slightly rewritten) and some of the narrator's comments were included, but it was funny more in a sort of slapstick way, whereas the book is witty.

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