13-year-old Sinikka vanishes on a hot summer night. Her bicycle is found in the exact place where a girl was killed 23 years ago. The dramatic present forces those involved in the original case to face their past.
In 1986 an 11-year-old schoolgirl is raped and murdered by Peer Sommer while his friend Timo watches silently from the passenger seat of his car. Timo leaves after the murder, to Sommer's dismay. In 2009, exactly 23 years later, a 13-year-old girl goes missing and her bicycle is discovered in the same spot where the first crime happened. Senior detective Mittich, who investigated the original murder takes an interest in the new case, but he is blocked from participating by the new senior detective. Are the two murders related or it's just a coincidence? Will Timo approach the police finally after 23 years of silence?Written by
Based on the novel by Jan Costin Wagner, "The Silence" is a fascinating, beautifully realized crime drama from Germany.
The movie centers around two identical crimes, both occurring at the identical place, though 23 years apart. Both involve the murder and possible rape of a young girl biking alone through an isolated meadow.
The script by Baran bo Odar examines the case from the viewpoints of the perpetrators, the victims, the victims' families, and the law enforcement officials who have some pretty intense psychological issues of their own to deal with. The life-shattering impact on the parents, along with their inconsolable grief, the frustrations of the investigators, the remorse and guilt (or lack thereof) on the part of the criminals - all are woven into a rich tapestry that mixes crime-and-detection elements with generous dollops of morbid psychology.
The most interesting character is Timo Friedrich (superbly enacted by Wotan Wilke Mohring), an "accomplice" to the initial crime and a prime suspect in the second, who has so many inner demons of his own to account for that he has become utterly consumed by feelings of guilt and self-loathing.
Unlike in the typical American police procedural, the investigators here are not played by drop-dead gorgeous movie stars but by frumpy, slightly saggy and balding middle-aged performers who look like actual honest-to-God people you might encounter in real life. And all are excellent.
In addition, the movie doesn't cater to the audience's desire for a clear-cut resolution, and in so doing, acknowledges that life does not always work out the way it does in the movies.
Odar's direction is both spare and slightly surreal at times, so that the world he's portraying always feels strangely off-kilter, as befits the subject matter.
A triumph for all concerned, "The Silence" is easily one of the best movies of 2013 thus far.
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