A reformed hunter (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and a sheriff (Annabelle Wallis) are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse when they set out to track a killer who may have kidnapped the hunter’s daughter five years ago.
Robin Pront’s The Silencing is a bit of a mixed bag in the thriller genre. There are some problems with the film that are too big to ignore, but at the same time, it’s filled with plenty of impressive moments for all to enjoy.
One of the biggest strengths that this movie has is its excellent cast. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau portrays the lead protagonist Rayburn Swanson, a man who is haunted by the knowledge that his daughter was kidnapped. He will stop at nothing to try to find her and the man that is responsible for taking the one thing he loves most away from him.
Here, Coster-Waldau feels totally unhinged and ready to snap at any possible second. I have been a big fan of his work in the past, and his performance here reminded me yet again of his amazing talents. His character goes through a deep and depressing arc and has to deal with a lot of emotions throughout the story. He is an alcoholic and it got in the way of his home life. Because of his drinking, he never really got to spend too much time with his daughter who is now missing, and as a result, he feels extreme remorse and guilt.
Thankfully, we get several scenes that are dedicated to just him and his thoughts. We get to see the pain that he is going through just by looking into his cold, sad eyes. Coster-Waldau completely disappears into this role. I never once saw him as an actor, but rather, I only saw his character, which is a great thing. Here’s hoping that HBO hires him to play Joel Miller in their upcoming television series adaptation of The Last of Us.
But aside from Coster-Waldau, Annabelle Wallis does a similarly amazing job in the role of Sheriff Alice Gustafson. Sadly, her character was not given nearly as much depth or development as the protagonist. Alice feels like every other police officer character in a crime thriller and nothing about her character stands out from the crowd. But none of that changes the fact that Wallis still does a terrific job in her role. I just wish that her character was given a lot more to do.
That’s really one of the biggest issues that this movie has – it only fleshes out its main protagonist but nobody else. It’s easy to get attached to Rayburn and understand his plight because the film spends quite some time building up his character and his arc which is great. The downside to that is so many characters feel underused and pointless in the long run.
Another thing that was unfortunately easy to notice was the use of shaky cam. There aren’t too many action/fight scenes, but when the film does have them, there is almost always shaky cam involved. It’s a little bit difficult to see who is attacking somebody in certain sequences.
The film doesn’t always work due to its underdeveloped characters and action, but it makes up for it in the tension department. There were several moments where I was genuinely nervous as to what was going to happen next. Pront did a remarkable job of crafting several moments that felt truly intense, even if the film as a whole was somewhat lacking.
The Silencing suffers from a lack of character development and an overuse of shaky cam in its action sequences, but it’s saved by the excellent performances and moments of genuine tension throughout.
Overall Grade: B-
MPAA Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language
Directed by: Robin Pront
Distributed by: Saban Films
Release Date: August 14, 2020
Running Time: 93 minutes