26 September 2023

The Bay of Silence

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Paula van der Oest, Defiant Screen Entertainment.

Quite unusual in this day and age: we don’t have insight into all the clues that unravel in this absorbing tale of love, enigmas and deceit.

At the core is the love story between Will and new wife Rosalind, mindful their peaceful life is starting to work loose after the birth of their son. This is where the story gets cloaked in secrecy and doubt.

Olga Kurylenko (Qantum of Solace, The November Man, Oblivion) plays Rosalind, a French beauty in love with Will Walsh (Claes Bang, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, The Glass Room, The Last Vermeer).

Usually it’s the viewers who have the insight as clues slowly unravel. Not this time though. We find out at the same time as Will. That’s why it’s absorbing as it throws us into the story, their lives and in Will’s perceptive detective pursuits. The screenplay by Caroline Goodall (also producer) is sturdy, based on the novel of the same name by Lisa St Aubin de Terán. Guido van Gennep’s cinematography is striking, coupled with appealing production design and the wonderful execution from director Paula van der Oest.

The configuration of this mystery thriller – which begins and ends, at the Bay of Silence in Italy – stands out. The performances are appealing. The notable cast includes Bang, in particular, carrying a lot of the weight. Brian Cox as Milton Hunter can also be relied upon to showcase his own leaning towards a witty though suspicious character of doubtful rationale. Kurylenko can only try her best with what’s is given to her; with others worth mentioning that include Alice Krige (Carnival Row), Shalisha James-Davis (I May Destroy You), Assaad Bouab (Homeland, Call My Agent) and Hannah van der Westhuysen (Granchester).

It doesn’t quite fall into the psycho melodrama category. For that it lacks the sophisticated delicacy of being an exhilarating film noir.

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